Housing Complex

Alexander Torpedoes Business In Her Ward, Sets Terrible Legislative Precedent

Swear to god, it's not going to hurt your retail.

Usually, city councilmembers try to attract new businesses to their wards, especially when they're hurting for jobs and industry. That pattern breaks down, however, when it comes to medical marijuana—for no logical or empirical reason. It was one thing when Councilmember Vincent Orange, in his self-appointed role as Ward 5's interim caretaker, limited the number of marijuana cultivation centers in that ward to six. But yesterday, Councilmember Yvette Alexander killed the single business in her ward that had made it through the Department of Health's initial screening.

Her reason? The proposed location, a warehouse at 3701 Benning Road NE, would retard the development of a fragile business district. The emergency legislation, passed without a public hearing, would exclude all cultivation centers from all "retail priority areas," of which there are six throughout the city. In most cases, they don't overlap with zones in which cultivation centers are allowed, anyway. In this case, it barely does. The warehouse is situated next to the train tracks, not on any main streets where it would be an unfriendly presence. In fact, as I explained last fall, the kinds of security measures the grow operations have to have would be a benefit, not a threat.

Land use policy aside, this is just a terrible way to deal with a large program in which people have invested millions of dollars. If Alexander had a problem with the regulations, she could have made it known years ago. Why would an entrepreneur ever participate in a District-sponsored initiative like this if he or she is just going to get fucked with at the last minute? It's also worth pointing out that if the council tries something similar on the dispensaries, which are currently scattered throughout the city's commercial districts, the program would die altogether.

None of these things matter in an election year, when kneejerk opposition to a product that's freighted with all sorts of irrational fears is a cheap way to win votes, or at least not lose them.

  • Allie

    It's scary how quickly a CM can shut down something previously approved without so much as a public hearing. I know on many Ward 7 neighborhood listservs there's been organization to try to stop the development; that doesn't mean that the CM should pander to those constituents without due process, though.

  • DC Guy

    This is what happens when you have a group of individuals who have little to no real world working experience making laws and determining policy. It would be a similar outrage if a political body decided to retroactively tax long term investments.

    Oh, wait.

  • TM

    Doesn't this emergency legislation require Gray's signature? Is he really signing off on all these fly-by-night bills?

  • http://Twitter.com/VonniMediaMOgul VonniMediaMogul

    For once Councilmember Yvette Alexander actually listened to her constituents, many of which have fought for decades for decent retail such as those in Hillcrest. She listened and is working to keep the desirable retail locations just as that... retail and your comments here, Lydia, make you the Honorary Uninformed Douche of the Year. I attended a medicinal marijuana Ward 7 ANC mtg where all involved were not interested in it at all. Ms. Depillis-Douche, take your crown. You've earned it.

  • Java Master

    Clearly, folks in Ward 7 don't want potheads hanging around any proposed cultivation center. This is no one's idea of a true "business" venture. How about getting some REAL employment-generating retail businesses in there, huh?

  • Kevin

    It was good to see candidates at a Ward 5 forum I went to defend the marijuana law and not bow down to the fearful opposition of what 'might happen.' Too bad Yvette did not attend and see that reasonable candidates can support something controversial.

  • Tom A.

    uhhh.... java master? are you being sarcastic? Downtown ward 7 is already FULL of people high on pot and crack.

    And this is NOT a place where people would go to get pot anyway. It's like complaining about a tobacco farm because smokers will be lingering outside hoping for some cigarettes.

  • EP Sato

    Alexander's been on an jihad against marijuana for years. She passed a ban on individual cigar sales in an effort to curb "blunt" use. In the years since, I've seen NOTHING to indicate that use of marijuana in DC has gone down. I see empty blunt "guts" and cellophanes on metro floors every day, so the blunt ban didn't do much of anything.

    Alexander's an incredibly nice person. She's very genuine and is one of the few CMs I feel is completely trustworthy. Unfortunately, she's also one of the least effective members of the Council. Her legislative accomplishments are limited, and her constituent service is okay, but Ward 7 was once Vincent Gray's and people remember him as being significantly more effective. Alexander's legislative track record is paper thin and now that it's an election year she needs to make it look like she's been doing something.

  • H Street Landlord

    Terrible decision by Alexander.

  • Cap City Records Panhandler
  • ward7downthestreet

    Her true change of heart come just before this election time. When she thought she had it locked up she refused to side with the community who did not want this at this location for good reason. This was present from Gray and Brown to help her retain votes that she would have definitely lost.

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  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    is vonnimediamogul 1) a "media mogul"? (c'mon, that's laughable) and 2) in alexander's pocket?

    classy with the name-calling too. how anyone listens to someone who rants that much, i'll never know.

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