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New Hampshire opens applications for medical marijuana treatment centers

Last modified: 12/20/2014 1:41:02 AM
If you want to apply for one of four spots to dispense on New Hampshire’s medical marijuana market, now’s your chance: The Department of Health and Human Services released its long-awaited request for applications yesterday afternoon.

The department plans to select up to four alternative treatment centers – New Hampshire’s version of medical marijuana dispensaries – distributed in predetermined geographic areas across the state. The state, in its request for applications posted online, said it will only select one center per area and that patients may only register with one alternative treatment center at a time. (But patients can change that, if needed, by contacting the department.)

The four areas are divided along county lines: Coos, Carroll and Grafton; Sullivan and Cheshire; Belknap, Strafford and Rockingham; and Merrimack and Hillsborough. If applicants are interested in opening a center in the area that covers Sullivan and Cheshire counties, the department is also allowing them the option to operate in a second geographic area. For this reason, the department plans to select the Sullivan-Cheshire center first. From there, the department plans to award a registration in one of the remaining three geographic areas based on where the highest-scoring applicant applied.

The department will base its selections on a scoring system that measures 20 general categories – gauging location, security, affordability, business plans, cultivation plans and more.

Applications for the alternative treatment center licenses are due by 2 p.m. Jan. 28, according to the request posted online by the department. The law that established the state’s medical marijuana program gave the department 18 months to issue registration certificates to at least two alternative treatment centers – with the caveat that “at least 2 applications have been submitted that score sufficiently high to receive a certificate.”

That 18-month deadline – as calculated from the effective date July 23, 2013 – falls on Jan. 23, 2015. Medical marijuana advocates and people with conditions that would qualify under the medical marijuana law have criticized the department for not moving quickly enough to implement the program.

The department, meanwhile, had stated earlier this year that it would be able to meet the legislative timeline. When asked again about the timeline several weeks ago, rules coordinator Michael Holt said he could not say definitively that the department would make its selections by Jan. 23.

The HHS did not follow up on a request for comment on the application as of press time last night.

(Casey McDermott can be reached at 369-3306 or cmcdermott@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @caseymcdermott.)


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