Delaware To Make Medical Marijuana More Accessible
To increase availability in underserved areas of Delaware, the state medical marijuana program, which would open four new compassion centers, has filed applications to make it easier for patients with chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, and other conditions to access the drug. Sen. John M. O'Donnell, D-Delaware, said more centers are needed to expand the program.
The DPH opened the Cape Gazette with a report on Columbia Care, which will open its Rehoboth pharmacy in October 2019. There are 10,587 medical marijuana patients in the state, according to the Delaware Department of Health. First State Compassion opened its Lewes pharmacies in May 2017 and there were 1,737 patients at the centre when it opened and 2,073 patients when First State opened.
In an email dated September 4, Hyland said the most common concern for cardholders was a lack of choice. If you add all the sellers together, he said, Delaware has about 34 different strains of marijuana.
He added that patients want more choice and said providers will allocate patient traffic to reduce waiting times elsewhere. Hyland said another concern is the queues that form when people wait to go to compassion centers.
There are currently six compassion centers in Delaware: Fresh cannabis has one in Newark, Columbia Care has three in one of three districts, First State has two in Wilmington and one each in Lewes and Fresh Cannabis in New Castle County and Newark.
Hyland said areas that would benefit from improved access would include the western part of Sussex and Kent counties. He noted that there are currently three sites in New Castle County, but said those areas would benefit from additional access to that part of the state.
Hyland said the goal is to increase product inventory, which means the state will also increase production. He said permits would be issued if needed to prevent overproduction of the drug, but it was common for companies to apply for permits. The number of growers will be determined after the application documents have been examined by the application committee.
Hyland said overproduction is a problem in other states, and the RFP pointed to a study by the Marijuana Policy Group that found Colorado had 32.6 tons of unsold marijuana in 2017, an "overproduction."
Patchell said his network had been advocating for the elimination of the cap on the number of compassionate centers in the state's medical-marijuana program. In an email dated September 9, he said he was glad the RFP process was open, but that more than four "compassion centers" would potentially be needed if growth continued. The cap is based on fears that the federal government could intervene, "he said, adding that vertical integration plays a role in supply chains.
Patchell said the growth at home would also help ease the current situation for patients. Hyland could not give an opening date for the new compassion center, but he said it would likely open by the end of the year.
The construction time can vary depending on the project and other factors such as the weather. The FFP has an estimated start date of 1 October 2017 and the deadline for a response is Wednesday 28 October.