Medical marijuana growers setting up shop in NE D.C.

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Several northeast D.C. residents are grumbling over medical marijuana growers setting up shop in their backyard.

“This is something we definitely don't need in our neighborhood," said 88-year-old Reuben McNair.

He wishes he could enjoy his golden years without worrying about what's happening in warehouses around his Woodridge home.

“I do anticipate that sooner or later, we will have a problem," he said.

The now retired marine moved into his home in northeast in 1958. One medical marijuana cultivation center began business in his backyard this past summer. A second one opened just a few blocks over and two more are getting ready to open.

“They should be spread out,” he insisted. “Not all in one congested area."

“We can't take one more of these places," exclaimed Martha Ward.

She’s among the more than hundred residents who signed a petition protesting a fifth cultivator moving in.

“In my opinion, it's going to bring the property value down as well," said longtime resident Frances Penn.

She and her neighbors worry D.C. leaders made a broken promise.

“When they were establishing [the cultivation centers], ‘oh we're never going to decriminalize it,’” she said they insisted. “’We're not going to be legalizing’ and what is coming up now?" she questioned.

The city council is currently debating decriminalizing small amounts of recreational pot. Those found with an ounce or less would face a $100 fine.

“We want to be able to say that we have a thriving community -- not house a mass inventory of cultivation centers,” said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Karla Butler.

She’s fielded complaint after complaint from concerned citizens.

"We would like artist lofts in industrial land,” she said. “We would like studios [and] sports centers not marijuana."

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie who represents Ward 5 issued us this statement:

“It is difficult to tell residents in Woodridge that they should not be worried about the over-concentration of medical marijuana cultivation centers in such a small area. I remain concerned that multiple facilities will change the character of the surrounding neighborhood and I am working with the department of health to address this issue."

Our calls and emails to the D.C. Department of Health for comment were not immediately returned.