“As black people, the cannabis industry is an industry that we’ve been notoriously left out of … This is an opportunity for us to build a special expertise.”
Darrow MontgomeryNorbert Pickett believes in the power of cannabis. “It’s important because I think it’s a wonder drug,” he says. “Cannabis saved my life.” And thanks to Pickett, the drug is about to become radically more accessible for medical marijuana patients in Ward 7. His dispensary, DC Holistic Wellness, is scheduled to open in Deanwood this week, operating out of the old Dave Brown Liquors location. Pickett says the only remaining hurdle is one final, minor inspection by DC Health and the Metropolitan Police Department, and then he’s all set to open by the end of the week. It will be the first medical marijuana dispensary in Ward 7.
But cannabis is not a “wonder drug” Pickett ever thought he would need. Growing up outside Boston, he was a high school basketball star turned D-1 player at Boston University, and he first came to D.C. to jump start his career on the business side of sports. He worked for the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) and for the Capitals, before leaving the city again to do marketing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Eventually, wanting to try his luck in the entertainment industry, he moved to Hollywood, and pretty soon, he’d finessed his way onto Jimmy Kimmel Live! Pickett worked with Kimmel for several years as his casting director, before moving on to a studio job.
And then, in the spring of 2012, he was hit by a car. As he