Prime ATC plans to open its second marijuana dispensary just outside of Concord
Members of the public will get to express their opinions next week about a new therapeutic cannabis dispensary set to open in nearby Chichester.
The proposed business, just six miles from the State House in Concord, is a result of a bill approved by the New Hampshire Legislature in 2019 that allowed for the establishment of two new cannabis dispensaries in parts of the state where patient access to legal marijuana is limited.
The two new centers will be operated by Prime ATC, which already owns a dispensary in Merrimack. The project, which would be located at the former Price auto dealer on Route 4, has received approval from the Chichester Planning Board.
A public information session will be held at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 5, via Zoom as part of the Chichester selectmen’s meeting.
Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services Therapeutic Cannabis Program and representatives from Prime ATC will make presentations and answer attendees’ questions.
At a planning board meeting last month, Keenan Blum, a representative of Prime ATC, said the dispensary has no plans to sell recreational marijuana. If the state’s stance on recreational use changed and Prime ATC altered their business plan, Blum said he would come back to the planning board for approval.
Marijuana is fully legalized in 15 states in the U.S, including Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts. However, legalization advocates have called New Hampshire an “island of prohibition” because of its marijuana restrictions compared to its closest neighbors.
Blum said the Merrimack location sees up to 200 customers a day, and Prime ATC anticipates a similar amount of traffic at the new location. Since the start of the pandemic, managers at Prime ATC said they’ve seen more demand than ever.
Chichester was chosen as the home of this new dispensary to increase patient access to therapeutic cannabis while alleviating the travel burden for those in Merrimack County and northern Hillsborough. According to the 2019 Report from the state’s Therapeutic Cannabis Program, 285 people in Concord and Chichester are registered to purchase therapudic marijuana. Besides the one in Merrimack, New Hampshire’s three other dispensaries are in Plymouth, Lebanon and Dover.
New Hampshire’s Therapeutic Cannabis Program, established in 2017, allows Granite Staters with a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, PTSD, and epilepsy, to buy medicinal marijuana. Caregivers and physicians can also qualify for the program, with appropriate documentation. Those who qualify are required to buy the drug through one of the state’s four dispensaries, officially called “Alternative Treatment Centers.”
The program has doubled, or more, in every qualifying demographic since the program began — with 8,566 patients, 488 caregivers, and 1,101 providers participating in 2019. Under state law, only those licensed as medical marijuana patients or designated caregivers can obtain cannabis from dispensaries. To purchase products from the new dispensary, patients must register with the Department of Health and Human Services and submit documentation of a qualifying medical condition.
For more information on the project and the public meeting, go to the town’s webpage at https://www.chichesternh.org/home/news/public-information-session-therapeutic-cannabis