DC dispensaries say patients languish in pain while waiting for medical marijuana cards

Stephanie Kahn, who watched the pain her father endured from multiple sclerosis and her mother from cancer, says the District makes it too hard to buy the one treatment that might have eased their suffering.

Ms. Kahn, who with her husband, David, owns the Takoma Wellness Center in Northwest Washington, says the city’s Department of Health makes it too cumbersome for residents to register for a medical marijuana card as a way to ease pain.

“We have patients who wait and wait and wait,” said Ms. Kahn, who said nearly a third of her patients are 60 or older. “It takes way too long. There’s all kinds of barriers that they have put up for patients’ access and it’s very frustrating.”

She is not alone in her frustration: Sam Pettee, director of marketing at the Metropolitan Wellness Center, a medical cannabis dispensary on Capitol Hill, said the center sends out two or three emails a day pleading on behalf of patients who have applied for a medical marijuana card and still have not received one.

“That’s the big concern we are facing right now because someone’s old and sick,” said Mr. Pettee. “They don’t have two months to wait and get their medicine.”

Ms. Kahn said it is a challenge for her patients, particularly those who are extremely sick, to receive medical marijuana cards. It generally takes the D.C. Department of Health a month or longer to send cards.

Asked about processing times for medical marijuana cards, a Department of Health spokeswoman told The Times, “D.C. Health’s policy is for patient registration identification cards to be processed within 30 days.”

Incomplete applications, or those with incorrect information, may take longer to process, the department said.

To obtain a medical marijuana card in the District, a patient must receive a recommendation

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