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A car accident left a basketball star with lifelong pain. Now, he says cannabis helped save him and he wants to help others

Norbert Pickett says cannabis helped with his chronic pain and now this week, he will be opening Ward 7's first ever medical marijuana dispensary.

Norbert Pickett's life has taken him in many directions. From a Boston University basketball player, to Hollywood, then fearing the worst in a hospital bed.

"It was a long nightmare from there that happened May 2012. I spent the past 5 years going through 18 procedures, three major surgeries," said Norbert Pickett.

Pickett was hit by a car and to deal with the pain, he would up taking more pills than he could count. 

"I tell people I'm a patient first, cannabis changed my life," said Pickett.

This week, Pickett will open up DC Holistic Wellness, the first medical marijuana dispensary in the area. Pickett credits cannabis with getting him off pills and controlling his chronic pain.

The location is on Sheriff Road in Deanwood, where Dave Brown Liquors stood for 40 years. The dispensary will sell medical marijuana and offer a lounge for section 8 residents who would be evicted otherwise for cannabis use.

 "There's not another dispensary that is close to here. When you're in pain you don't feel like traveling across town in traffic. you don't want to have to go far to get your medication," said Pickett.

Pickett says the dispensary has created 20 jobs already and he is mostly hiring Deanwood residents. Later this year, he plans on opening an urgent care center next door.

But at one church a few blocks away, churchgoers told us off camera they don't want the dispensary, fearing crime could increase.

Pickett says he's here to stay, and transform Ward 7 for the better.

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