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Cannabis advocates call for boycott of compassion centers

Fresh Delaware in Newark is one of the compassion centers that testified with concerns over the new recreational marijuana bill

Some cannabis advocates are calling for a boycott of the state’s medical dispensaries after their opposition to parts of the recreational legalization bill.


Frustrated by the testimony given by a few of Delaware’s Compassion Centers opposed to the current text of the recreational cannabis bill, some Cannabis advocates are calling for medical marijuana patients to boycott the businesses.


Some of the concerns from these compassion centers include being worried about an oversupply in the market, such as what happened in Oregon and Colorado, and also asked for permission to sell recreational marijuana while the new permitting system gets set up.


Zoe Patchell is the director of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network. She says work has been underway on this bill and similar bills for years.


“This was a complete surprise for them to come out of the woodwork after our nearly a decade —  well documented fight for cannabis legalization," she says.


Patchell says there've been many opportunities for the medical compassion centers to voice their thoughts on recreational legalization, and to hear it now only hurts the effort to get the drug legalized in the First State.


She adds the concerns about oversupply are exaggerated and from her experience talking with medical cannabis patients, Delaware has an undersupply of the drug.


“The medical cannabis patients are completely outraged — especially when they’re paying steep prices with such little strain and product availability and waiting in long lines because there’s too few market participants as there is," Patchell says. "And these market participants that own the current licenses are arguing for less licenses.”


Patchell says increasing competition and supply of marijuana in the market would help drive prices down for consumers.


But in some states such as Oregon, while an oversupply of cannabis did bring prices down to some of the lowest in the country, it also put a heavy strain on marijuana inspectors and pushed more of that surplus into the black market.


In a statement, the group of dispensaries opposed to parts of the bill say they support legalizing recreational use, but will continue to push for speeding up access to the recreational market by giving current compassion centers a license to sell recreational marijuana in the interim.


Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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