Marijuana distributors continue to grow, this time in Chichester 

Monitor staff
Published: 4/8/2021 3:03:22 PM

The medical marijuana dispensary in Chichester opens for business Friday for qualifying patients and caregivers, however, New Hampshire stands apart from its neighbors when it comes to fully legalizing pot.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that it had granted a registration certificate to Prime Alternative Treatment Centers of New Hampshire, which can now sell pot to pre-approved patients to combat pain and nausea from its dispensary at 349 Dover Road in Chichester.

The new center fills a gap in the Concord region, created by the distances of the other five dispensaries already operating in the state: Merrimack, Plymouth, Conway, Dover and Lebanon.

In making the announcement, the DHHS said that qualifying patients currently registered at the Merrimack ATC can also make purchases at the new outlet in Chichester.

And there are more to come. Michael Holt, an administrator with the DHHS’ Therapeutic Cannabis Program, said recently that another Alternative Treatment Center for distributing medical marijuana, Temescal Wellness, plans to open a chapter soon in Keene.

Holt added that an eighth ATC branch is being planned for the Seacoast, which would bring New Hampshire’s total number of dispensaries to the maximum allowed by law.

Discussions about the medical benefits of marijuana sparked the Legislature to create a medical marijuana program, and Prime ATC, one of three approved distributors in New Hampshire, opened in Merrimack in 2016. However, the state has resisted 

A House Bill in 2019 required the state’s Therapeutic Cannabis Program to add locations and make travel for patients and caregivers more convenient.

“When you think of how big the state is, it’s about an hour plus to get to (the other centers),” Keenan Blum, CEO of Prime ATC, said recently. “This will reduce travel plans, reduce time and stress. They told us to open in the Concord area, and we found a facility.”

The Granite State is surrounded by three states - Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts – that permit the sale of marijuana from designated outlets for recreational use.

New Hampshire is taking a slower path toward legalization in a movement that has been growing for decades.

Currently, 15 states have legalized the recreational use of pot, according to a recent ABC News report. Thirty-six states plus Washington, D.C., offer pot for medical treatments of chronic pain, PTSD, epilepsy and the loss of appetite caused by cancer treatments.

According to the same ABC News report, 68% of Americans now support legalizing the drug that exploded onto the scene during the counterculture days of the 1960s, and scared the heck out of parents for generations.

“Five years ago there was more concern because people were unfamiliar with the medical aspect,” Blum said. “For a century, people had heard that cannabis is bad, but we’re not seeing problems. There’s no black market feel or a rise in crime. None of that has come to fruition.”

Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.

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