A new medical marijuana dispensary quietly opened Friday in Newark.
Fresh Cannabis is the state’s fourth medical marijuana dispensary. It grows its own marijuana on site at its Ogletown Road facility in Newark.
The dispensary sold only flower at its soft opening Friday — but plans to ramp up its extraction process to sell oils and infused products in time for a grand opening this summer.
Health insurance companies generally do not reimburse for medical marijuana, but executive vice president at Fresh Cannabis Aaron Epstein says the new dispensary offers discounts.
“We have currently three available discounts. We offer discounts to veterans, people who are receiving government assistance, and that’s a wide range of government assistance. And then also we have a 50 percent discount for all minor patients under the age of 18,” said Epstein.
New patients at Fresh Cannabis will be given a counselling session to determine which strains and products best fit their medical conditions and lifestyles.
Mark Garvey visited the new dispensary Friday. He switched from opiates to medical marijuana in 2015 to treat his chronic pain.
Until now, he’s mainly shopped at First State Compassion Center in Wilmington - but says they often don’t have the strains that work best for him. And he feels they struggle to meet demand.
“They only sell eighths at a time, nothing larger. Reason being is I think too many patients, not enough marijuana,” said Garvey.
Paul Hyland, program administrator for the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana in the Division of Public Health, says demand in Delaware has turned out to be higher than originally expected, with nearly 7,000 residents holding medical marijuana cards. He adds that roughly 400 people apply for medical marijuana cards each month in Delaware.
People with a range of symptoms and diagnoses, including PTSD, cancer and nausea, can be approved for medical marijuana cards in Delaware.
According to Hyland, the supply of medical marijuana in Delaware has struggled to keep up with demand. This is in part because the two newest dispensaries— Columbia Cares Delaware in Smyrna and Fresh Cannabis in Newark— opened later than expected.
Hyland says with the addition of “Fresh Cannabis” in Newark, First State dispensaries are projected to comfortably meet demand for medical marijuana by 2020.
The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act was approved in 2011, and the state’s medical marijuana registry card program began receiving applications in 2012.