Regarding the Jan. 18 Metro article “Council limits medical marijuana growth”:
The emergency legislation proposed by D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-at large) to limit the number of marijuana cultivation sites and dispensaries, as well as adult entertainment venues, in each ward is a fine example of lazy politicking trumping good policy. Mr. Orange seems to be playing on perceived Ward 5 fears that such establishments will turn Northeast into a sort of red-light quadrant riven with criminal activity.
I’m a Ward 5 resident; I, too, would love to see different types of economic development in the area. But I’m also a realist. Ward 5 is chock-full of unused and underused light industrial property that is not generating tax revenue. Maybe one day the District’s economic boom will reach the great urban corridors such as New York Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue and Bladensburg Road, but in the meantime the city needs to think about how to use these areas productively.
The District is in a tight fiscal situation. Strip clubs and medical marijuana centers — both tightly regulated and potentially very profitable industries — could provide valuable sources of tax income. Perhaps, rather than proposing knee-jerk restrictions, Mr. Orange and the D.C. Council could consider legislation that would keep tax revenue from such businesses in the ward where it is generated. For example, the revenue could pay for an enhanced police presence where necessary.
There are no easy answers for Ward 5, but before considering restrictive legislation of this type, the council needs to weigh a host of factors affecting residents of the ward and the city as a whole. Rushing legislation through the system is not the way to go.
John Siko, Washington