LACONIA — An administrator at the state's Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Program said Thursday that, to date, there have been no plans filed for either cultivation sites or marijuana dispensaries for Geographical Area 1, which includes Belknap County, Strafford County and Rockingham County.
Area 1 and Area 3, which is Cheshire and Sullivan Counties, were awarded to Temescal Wellness, Inc., a non-profit company formed in December of 2014 that has retired hand surgeon Dr. Gary Wood of Concord Orthopedics as one of its principals.
Temescal Wellness President Ed Rebholtz said yesterday that his company is eyeing a few locations in Area 1 but hadn't signed any leases at this point. He said his goal is to maximize patient accessibility and to "to get open as soon as possible to serve as many patients as possible."
Rebholtz said once the company decides on the locations, it will go through all the public processes set out in New Hampshire's law.
So far, the closest proposed dispensary to Laconia is the one in Plymouth, which would be operated by Sanctuary ATC, Inc. Administrator Michael Holt of the state cannabis program said Sanctuary has also proposed a cultivation site that would be located in Rochester but would supply Area 4 which includes Plymouth.
Holt explained that by dividing the state into four geographic areas, there would be four dispensaries and four cultivation sites. Temescal Wellness, Inc. would be awarded two each.
Holt also explained that people who live in one geographic area can go to a different geographic area to have prescriptions filled. For example, should a dispensary open in Plymouth, it would make geographic sense for residents of the northern parts of Belknap County to go there, should the Area 1 dispensary be located near the seacoast.
The only restriction is that a patient may only fill his or her prescriptions at one dispensary. Permission to change dispensaries must be granted by the Department of Health and Human Services and Holt said he would say a legitimate reason to change dispensaries would be if a patient relocated to a different part of the state.
The city of Laconia has passed a zoning ordinance that would allow a dispensary or a cultivation site in only three zoning areas — industrial, industrial park, and airport industrial.
A would be applicant would go through a conditional use permit procedure administered by the Planning Board.
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