Marijuana dispensary opens in Rehoboth

REHOBOTH — Between shopping at Pandora or Reebok on Black Friday, shoppers might notice something different among the typical retail businesses tucked into the shops at the Tanger Outlets — a new medical marijuana dispensary.

Columbia Care, a national dispensary operator, opened its Rehoboth Beach location earlier this month, shortly behind a Wilmington location in October.
The company’s first Delaware location opened more than a year ago in Smyrna, said George DeNardo, vice president of Mid-Atlantic Operations.

“It’s been a real success,” he said this week. “When we first started in Delaware, we committed to getting into the three counties and providing easy access to the product for the folks of Delaware. Having our footprint throughout Delaware has been very positive not only for Columbia Care, but also the residents.”

The dispensary carries between 10 and 15 strains of marijuana. Mr. DeNardo said that the dispensary is finalizing cultivation, and expects that the number of different product forms — methods of consumption — and strains to increase in the next few months.

The dispensary sells products in multiple forms — including forthcoming lotions, Rick Simpson Oils and more — and consumption paraphernalia. They don’t sell any apparel, such as hats or T-shirts.
While the dispensary does sell CBD oils and products, which Mr. DeNardo noted go through the state of Delaware to test the cannabinoid profile, that is only available to those with a medical marijuana card at this time.

“Columbia Care is a wellness-focused company,” he continued. “We would love for residents of Delaware to have access to that.”
On average, Mr. DeNardo said that Columbia Care dispensaries throughout Delaware employ about eight to nine people, with a mixture of part and full time.

“Through Columbia Care, a national company, we provide training to all of our sales folks in regards to the form and the products,” he said. “We train them off our millions transactions, with all the data we’ve gathered, throughout the multiple states we run in.”

Mr. DeNardo noted that when a patient comes in, they show their ID and are verified as a valid cardholder before they can enter the dispensary and talk with sales associates. He explained that sales associates can help patients find the right product form for their condition.
Columbia Care also allows for patients to schedule appointments, where they can talk with a representative about their qualifying condition.

“For a lot of [people’s] first time experience, they’re not really sure what product they should be using, or what strains can help,” he said. “We provide that education so the ycan go up to the sales counter and purchase the products they’re looking for. The facilities themselves are all natural woods and polished concrete, to try to create a relaxing atmosphere.”

He noted that there is some anxiety for first-time users, and staff members try to guide them through the process to make it less intimidating.
“The main reason we targeted Tanger, not only because of the location in the county, is because there’s been a stigma associated with medical marijuana programs and marijuana in general,” he said. “We’re very excited about having a partner such as Tanger allowing the dispensary, which shows that this is becoming more mainstream than the historical past.”

He noted that marijuana is going through the same stigmas other industries have undergone and being that there is a medical program — with other states legalizing recreational adult use — it’s important to break down those notions.

“It’s a natural alternative. The more you get in the mainstream, the more it starts opening some people’s eyes, in regards to the benefits,” he said.
Delaware first legalized medical use in 2011, and the first dispensary opened in 2015.

Since then, laws targeting marijuana have seen some attention over the last couple of years, with bills seeking to legalize recreational use and expand medical use.
Nearly half a dozen dispensaries are open in Delaware.

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