From the Forum – advice for a newbie medical marijuana user in DC



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advice for a newbie medical marijuana user in DC

“I’m a new user of a medical marijuana pharmacy in DC (chronic pain). I had never used marijuana before. After seeing a physician you are required to chose one of three medical marijuana pharmacies in DC. You are required to only use that pharmacy. What I’m finding is that the pharmacy I chose is often out of the product(s) I use. I’m hearing this from others users of this pharmacy as well. And I don’t know how I find out if these other two pharmacies have and keep in stock the product that helps my pain. Are there others out there using one of the pharmacies and if you don’t mind mentioning which one that would be helpful and your experience w/ availability of products. It sounds like some of the pharmacies have their own growers while one of them does not. It would be good for patients to know this prior to having to sign up for one pharmacy.

Also, is there a forum where this type of information is shared and can you share it with us. I keep thinking about switching pharmacies but I would first want to be assured that they have and will keep the product I need in stock. It sounds as though you can’t even get inside the other pharmacies to ask a question if not assigned there.

I’ve been reading that there is a shortage in DC but is it with all three pharmacies or just the one that does not have an affiliation w/ a grower. There needs to be more transparency so that clients can make an intelligent decision prior to signing up. I could use advice. The product is the first in eight years that has helped my severe chronic pain. Thanks for any help you can provide. Hope this email makes some sense. ”

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13 Comment

  • I’m having same problem deciding who to “pick”. Any feedback would be greatly welcomed!

    • Thanks for the feedback. It is much appreciated. Has anyone out there switched pharmacies? What was required and how soon were you able to start using the new pharmacy? To answer a question, yes I have definitely talked w/ my current pharmacy about my interest in ordering the product. I’m told they will probably have it in stock next week. Then it is next month. Maybe. So pre ordering hasn’t happened.
      I see where another pharmacy has the product I want on their menu. So I’m tempted to switch but will they have it by the time I jump through hoops w/ DC government to switch pharmacies. And will the new pharmacy keep this product in stock. I guess those are my concerns. I wish there was more transparency BEFORE you have to choose a pharmacy. I didn’t know that some of the pharmacies have cultivation centers (is that the term?) and others do not. This would be good to know and helpful perhaps in making a decision. I want to trust the folks at my current pharmacy but I wonder what the truth is re getting this product in again. I assume they are going to tell me what I want to hear so I don’t go elsewhere. I guess I’m not thrilled that it seems as though anyone can get a medical marijuana card when there is a shortage of product for the DC pharmacies. Some people are really hurting. Seems like maybe only those w/ serious health issues should be eligible for a card until the shortage ends. Is whoever in charge of the program (and who is that?) aware of the shortages? I think some people think DC has medical marijuana and any one who needs it, can get it. Not so. It would be good if the media covered this story more. (maybe they have and I missed it). Does anyone have thoughts on when all of the pharmacies will catch up on supplies? Thanks again to all who responded.

  • So, I’ve talked to some of the staff and people involved with the system, and they said your experience is pretty normal. The DC medical system is in an awkward place right now with a supply bottleneck after they opened the list of qualifying conditions, but the supply hasn’t caught up.

    A few new grow facilities are in-process, so the constraint will ease over time, and when the number of dispensaries expands in the next year or two it will have passed completely.

    Your other option would be to grow your own under the Initiative 71 recreational rule, which sucks and is probably annoying, but an option nonetheless, but would guarantee a supply in about 60 days.

    [Obligatory Andy Harris bashing for keeping the recreational system from moving forward and pushing too many patients with weaker reasons to the medical rolls]

    • +1. Not a MM user, but common sense seems to support the idea that there will be a supply bottleneck. In the meantime I would probably pick the location that’s the least convenient to the largest number of D.C. residents, on the logic that they might not have quite as much demand compared to supply at the moment.

  • could always go for the pill form available at your regular pharmacies.

    • Whoever you pick will be in the same boat. Call them after they open every day to see what strains they will be getting in that day or what they have. Then pre order what you want/need.

      • Doesn’t work like that buddy…. This isn’t CVS. Doubt they are fielding phone calls all day from people wanting “weed”… You call, you can leave a message and then, you might get a call back…. this week. While you can check online to see what is available, I’m pretty sure Tacoma doesn’t update theirs very often…. least, when I have looked. It does suck, that you have to pick only one….. esp, if you haven’t done any homework on each one before hand…
        I’ve been getting MM for a while now, and the supply used to be great… you could easy get an ounce at a time. Now, they are all single grams, and generally limited by strain. The Council did vote to increase (double?) the # of plants that each grow center can have a few months back… but it’ll be another 3 or 4 months before that reaches the dispensaries.

        • In fact, you can’t even call CVS to ask what they have in stock. For opioid painkillers at least, pharmacists will not tell a patient over the phone whether they have a particular product/dose in stock. Many won’t even tell a doctor’s office or another pharmacist. The only solution is to drive from store to store with the prescription in hand (I’ve done this with a friend). Nothing like a bit of extra stress and travel to “help” with pain that’s already bad enough to need that strong a prescription…

  • I think Capital City Care has been better at keeping up with demand; I’m not a patient so I can’t say for sure but my friends in the industry have given me that impression.

  • Capital City Care is my chosen dispensary, and they are phenomenal. They have their own dedicated cultivator and the best medicine of the three in my opinion. However, if you are having problems maintaining a consistent supply, simply call whichever one you have chosen and ask them when it will be available, and stock up as much as you can.

  • I’ve been in the program for over a year. I used to go to Cap City, but just switched over to Takoma Park. The shortages will impact every dispensary. I could be wrong about this, but it seems as if the supply is being spread evenly across the three dispensaries so as to be most fair to patients. Both Cap City and Takoma Park talk longingly about increased supply that always seems to be just around the corner. I’m sure that’s bound to happen eventually, but I also feel like they’ve been promising that for a long time.

    You may be getting way ahead of yourself though. If you’re new to this, you probably won’t need much at all to make you feel better. Unless you plan on getting stoned all day (and good for you if you do), you’ll probably have no problem getting by on a few grams each time you visit, which is the current limit at the two dispensaries I’ve visited. By the time you might want more the new supply will come online.

    So pick the dispensary that is most convenient to you. In my experience the staff are universally friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic about the program. I can’t speak for the one on the Hill, but you really can’t go wrong at either Cap City or Takoma Park, with one caveat. Cap City is in a downright dangerous neighborhood. Everybody that hangs out on those corners (and there are a lot of people hanging out on those corners) knows you’re walking in with a bunch of cash, and knows you’re walking out with a bunch of drugs. I never had any trouble when I used to go there, but I never felt safe, either. It’s a shame, because the people running Cap City are wonderful.

  • Capital City Care is the way to go. They also cultivate (the only dispensary to do both), so while they don’t have a wide selection, they always have quality product in stock. Very solid staff as well.
    That being said, I have heard very good things are Takoma’s staff as well, my Mom is a patient there and she is needy with regards to consultation but the product list looks a bit smaller.

    I think things will improve overall by the end of year since cultivation centers can grow more as of relatively recent. Both of those locations have websites that are updated regularly with what is in stock currently.

    Finally, while the corner of North Cap and Florida is a bit sketchy, it’s not as bad as it’s being made out to be. Just don’t walk around looking lost or foolish and you’ll be okay. Best part is DCity Smokehouse is right there so a trip to the dispensary also means delicious BBQ (yes I know they are moving but the new spot isn’t that far away, plus they are opening a sit down place around the corner). That makes it even more worthwhile!

  • Somehing remarkable: Even though you have a prescription, you will be terminated from federal employment if you “use”.

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