Kent County gets medical marijuana vendor

The old Monster Racing property at 26 Starlifter Ave. in Dover was set to be leased to Compassionate Care Research Institute Inc., but the company did not land the Kent County marijuana dispensary contract.

The old Monster Racing property at 26 Starlifter Ave. in Dover was set to be leased to Compassionate Care Research Institute Inc., but the company did not land the Kent County marijuana dispensary contract.

DOVER — Kent County will be getting a medical marijuana dispensary soon but the location remains undisclosed. The dispensary will be the second in Delaware, with an announcement on a third likely forthcoming next month.

The state said last week it had awarded a contract to Columbia Care for two facilities to open in the second half of 2017. The sites for the retail and production operations have not been revealed and may not have even been finalized yet.

In April, Levy Court approved the lease of the former Monster Racing property at 26 Starlifter Ave. to Compassionate Care Research Institute Inc., but the company failed to land the contract with the state.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said some people had been interested in leasing a spot at the Garrison Oak Technical Park but no deal came together.

A spokeswoman for Columbia Care, which has facilities in six other states, said there was no timetable for when the locations will be made public.

The state will oversee the operation to ensure it follows the required security protocols.

Seven companies applied for the contract, including Compassionate Care Research Institute.

Delaware currently has only one dispensary set up and running: First State Compassion Center Inc. in Wilmington, which opened in June 2015, four years after legislation to create a medical marijuana program became law. Although Columbia Care will have separate sites for growing and selling cannabis, First State operates out of one building.

Because the only facility is in Wilmington, many downstate patients have been forced to travel several hours to buy marijuana. That will change over the next couple of years: The state expects to announce a Sussex vendor within a few weeks, according to Division of Public Health spokeswoman Emily Knearl.

Anyone seeking to obtain cannabis in Delaware to relieve pain must gain approval from a physician. Eligible conditions or diseases include but are not limited to cancer, HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder.

As of June 2015, the state had about 330 active medical marijuana cards, with another 85 or so pending approval.

Twenty-five states have approved cannabis for medicinal purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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