EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 25, 2013

Medical marijuana centers could take years to open

(Continued)

While DHHS has 18 months to decide on the first two dispensaries, Simon is pushing for a quicker process.

“We hope it will be done sooner than that because many patients need this,” he said.

Where the dispensaries will be located is still to be determined, but Simon expects them to be separate from hospitals and pharmacies.

“They will likely look like small businesses,” Simon said.

Simon pointed to the dispensaries available in Vermont and Maine, which are located in standalone buildings and plazas.

WIlliams said they would carefully look at all applicants.

“As long as there isn’t anything in the legislation that would preclude a specific entity from participating, we would consider a wide range of vendors and anyone who would put in a bid for this important work.” he said.

Rep. Patrick Culbert, R-Pelham said he was pleased the bill was signed, but wished that there was an option for individuals to grow medical marijuana.

“My wife died of lung cancer, and that is something that would have helped her,” Culbert said. “We wouldn’t have been able to afford the marijuana available at the dispensaries.”

Simon said it’s hard to gauge how much the marijuana would cost in New Hampshire, but he said $400 for an ounce would be a fair price.

Several local town officials said if a dispensary wanted to open in their towns they would give it consideration.

“We would treat it like we would any other business,” Londonderry Acting Town Manager Bill Hart said. “That process just has to comply with ordinances through the Planning Board.”

Salem Town Manager Keith Hickey said he couldn’t step in the way of a potential dispensary.

“I don’t know if there is anything we could do if we wanted to,” he said.

But what soon could be coming is town-issued moratoriums. At least a dozen municipalities in Massachusetts, including Haverhill, have held off on allowing dispensaries as they craft rules on where they could be allowed. Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in January.

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