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N.H. Okays First Grow Site for Medical Marijuana


One of the companies planning to dispense medical marijuana in New Hampshire is one step closer to offering the substance to patients.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a conditional registration certificate to Sanctuary ATC, which plans to open a dispensary in Plymouth, to start growing medical marijuana at a designated cultivation site in Rochester.

The move to issue conditional certifications is an attempt by DHHS to speed up the launch of the dispensaries by allowing the companies to start growing the plants before their dispensaries are ready to open.

According to state health officials overseeing the therapeutic cannabis program, it can take three to four months to cultivate usable medical marijuana.

It's been a long road to see New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program through to reality. The law setting up such a program went into effect in July 2013, but no dispensaries have actually opened to the public. DHHS says it’s expecting Sanctuary ATC’s dispensary to open sometime this spring.

Last month, prompted by a lawsuit from an Alstead woman battling late-stage lung cancer, the state decided to start issuing the ID cards that serve as legal protection for qualifying patients and caregivers to possess medical marijuana. Linda Horan, the woman who successfully sued the state for her ID card, was able to buy medical marijuana at a dispensary in Maine while waiting for one in New Hampshire to open.

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