Conservative Groups Challenge DC Over Pot Shops Near Schools

Two neighborhood associations in Washington D.C. are suing the city for granting medicinal marijuana licenses to businesses close to schools in the Penn Quarter and Palisades.

With backing from the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, 1,000 Feet and ANC-2C filed the lawsuits in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

While D.C. law forbids cannabis companies from operating within 300 feet of schools, daycares, and recreation centers, schools in commercial zones have an exception. Because of this legal loophole, dispensaries have been able to open up close to schools, endangering the safety of kids.

Two dispensaries were licensed by the District of Columbia's Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration: one is located within 1,000 feet of five private schools and is planned to open across the street from the BASIS charter school in Penn Quarter. The community is incensed by these approvals, which has prompted legal action.

1,000 Feet is promoting the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act's need for a 1,000-foot buffer zone around schools. They ask the D.C. government to give kids' safety first priority and to impose more stringent rules governing how close marijuana dispensaries are to schools.

A bill intended to plug the gap and enforce a rigorous 300-foot restriction for all dispensaries was recently rejected by the D.C. Council. Community organizations are further irate over this ruling because they believe their issues are being disregarded and are hoping the courts would take action.

Representing ANC-2C, Mark Lytle underlined the need of tackling this matter and recommended that federal legislators think about limiting the Department of Justice's enforcement activities against dispensaries close to schools. The legal actions by these neighborhood associations are a reflection of the growing opposition and worry to the city's laxity over marijuana store sites close to schools.

Written by Staff Reports

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