Medicinal pot to be sold in Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County’s first-ever medical marijuana dispensary is set to open on July 31 at 1641 Route 7 South in Middlebury.
The tightly regulated business will offer approximately 35 different strains of marijuana to area residents who have state permission to use the substance to help them deal with a variety of serious illnesses, including cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
The 1,600-square-foot dispensary will also include a small Ceres Natural Remedies store offering over-the-counter sales of Cannibidol-based products designed to relieve pain symptoms. While derived from cannabis, Cannibidol (CBD) products don’t possess enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the property in marijuana that causes the “high” — to meet the threshold of a regulated drug.
“We’re really looking forward to being in Middlebury and saving our customers a trip to Burlington,” said Shayne Lynn, executive director of the Champlain Valley Dispensary/Southern Vermont Wellness. “We’re also looking forward to interacting with Middlebury folks about cannabis and hemp products and sharing what we know.”
The state of Vermont has licensed Lynn’s company to run medical marijuana dispensaries in Burlington, Brattleboro, South Burlington and now Middlebury.
In December the Middlebury Development Review Board agreed to permit the dispensary in what was the former home of Planned Parenthood. The dispensary proposal had already met a key state requirement that it be located at least 1,000 feet from a nursery, childcare facility or school.
Recent weeks have seen workers renovate and furnish the dispensary building, according to Lynn.
“Things are moving right along,” he said on Monday. “We’re finishing some interior (improvements) right now to the waiting room, getting some display cases, putting in security measures.”
Security will be of paramount concern, Lynn acknowledged. While marijuana won’t be cultivated on premises, inventory will be stored in onsite safes, he said. The building will be equipped with indoor and outdoor security cameras, as well as exterior lighting, according to Lynn.
An access ramp will soon be installed to serve customers with disabilities, he added.
The room in which marijuana is to be sold will be off limits to those who aren’t enrolled in the Vermont Marijuana Registry. Lynn believes the Middlebury dispensary will initially attract around 250 authorized customers, a number he anticipates will grow to approximately 500 within the next year.
Lynn is optimistic the Middlebury store will see a steady increase in customers in spite of a new law that allows Vermonters to possess up to two mature plants on their property and up to an ounce of product.
“I think people will give (growing their own) a try and it will come down to selection, consistency and quality,” Lynn said. “Testing and convenience will be factors and we’re hoping in the long run people will come back and join the registry.”
Lynn suspects some Vermonters who qualify for medical marijuana will take a shot at growing their own but will stay on the registry to guarantee a reliable source.
All of the medical cannabis to be sold in Middlebury will be grown at Champlain Valley Dispensary’s 28,000-square-foot facility in Milton. That building also includes a kitchen, potency lab and processing facilities, according to Lynn.
“Sometimes (the plants) get diseases, sometimes people have to go on vacation and they can’t manage the plants while they’re away,” Lynn said. “In the long run, we feel like we have a really great place in Middlebury for people to visit us and be our customers.”
The company’s price for dried cannabis flower ranges from $250 to $350 per ounce, with edibles beginning at $5. The dispensary will fill a 500-milligram vape pen for around $80, according to Lynn. A patient’s annual expense is largely predicated on their dosage, which in turn can be influenced by the strength of the cannabis they choose to purchase, he noted.
“One of the things for us is educating patients when they come in and talking to people about THC levels,” he said, adding, “There are lots of options for people who are on budgets.”
The Middlebury dispensary will be staffed with three full-time workers and one part-timer, according to Lynn.
Along with cannabis, the dispensary will sell more than 40 different brands of Cannibidol products through a Ceres store. Products will be available in capsule, spray, oil, patch and other forms. Along with attacking pain, Lynn said, Cannibidol can reduce the symptoms of neuropathy, anxiety and inflammation.
The dispensary will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lynn hopes the operation will have a long, successful run in Middlebury.
“(The location) is easy to find with ample parking,” Lynn said. “I’m excited the community is open to us being there. We look forward to being good neighbors.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]
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