BURLINGTON, VT — Two years after the Vermont legislature approved the expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program to allow four dispensaries statewide, the first two have opened in Burlington and Montpelier. A third is expected to open soon in Brandon.
The two dispensaries, Champlain Valley Dispensary in Burlington, which opened Monday, and Vermont Patients Alliance, which opened last week in Montpelier, were both awarded licences by the by the state Department of Public Safety nine months ago.
Because of “unexpected hurdles” in the strictly regulated program, the dispensaries are just now opening.
The Vermont Legislature passed Senate Bill 17 in May 2011, paving the way for the dispensaries to open in the state. Strict guidelines regulating the medical marijuana dispensaries were written by the Vermont Department of Public Safety, who also oversee the Vermont State Police, and were carefully written to help prevent federal interference in the state’s medical marijuana program.
The rules mandate background FBI checks for dispensary operators, significant video security and one-at-a-time appointment-only service at the dispensaries. Dispensaries are required to grow their own marijuana in a secure environment.
Dispensaries are required to price medical marijuana similar to current street prices in an effort to ensure that the marijuana is not diverted to the black market and re-sold for a profit, but the dispensaries must also offer a sliding price scale to help patients who can’t pay full price to afford their medicine.
At the two dispensaries, prices range from $225-$450 per ounce.
Vermont’s First Two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Now Open was written by Thomas H. Clarke and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.
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