Montel Williams Supports DC Pot Program

By Ariel Nagi 08/18/11

The talk show host's non-profit fights to dispense medical marijuana in cities like Washington and Denver.

More than just a pretty face

Talk show host Montel Williams has become the public face of pot in Washington DC. He's part of a nonprofit group—the Abatin Wellness Center—that's seeking licenses from the District to run dispensary and cultivation facilities for medical marijuana. Williams also fronts a dispensary of the same name that opened earlier this year in Sacramento. The TV personality has multiple sclerosis—he uses medical marijuana and is a big believer in its benefits. The District shares its nonprofit model with other states, such as California—of course—and Maine, which jumped into the game recently, with a group involving former NBA star Cuttino Mobley proposing a deal to open its own marijuana dispensary this week. Colorado, on the other hand, took the Golden State model and—in the words of Denver city attorney David Broadwell—"put it on steroids," by operating the only commercial medical marijuana market in the US. Or at least the only legal one. The city of Denver took $3.5 million in marijuana sales and tax revenues plus a six-figure sum in local licensing fees from 300 marijuana stores and businesses last year. Back in DC, lawyer Frederick D. Cooke Jr., representing Abatin, says of Williams, “He is not the managing director or the driving guy. But he is certainly at a level more involved than being a face of the organization... He does stuff that makes the organization go.” It's a long way from DC to Denver. But with Montel Williams on board, medical marijuana just got a whole lot more visible—right under the eyes of our nation's politicians.

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