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First medical marijuana dispensary will open in Delaware on June 26

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media
Mark Lally, President of First State Compassion Center, shows off an "exit bag." Patients will leave with their medical marijuana concealed in these bags, which are also child-safe.

Medical marijuana has been legal since 2011 Delaware, but only now can medical marijuana cardholders actually go somewhere to legally obtain cannabis.

The experience of going into the dispensary will be highly regulated. Patients will be on camera from the minute they enter the building’s parking lot, and will have to show their medical marijuana card in order to get buzzed in to the entrance.

That card, by the way, requires Delaware residency, a birth certificate, and a Delaware doctor’s signature.

After the patients’ IDs are verified, they can go into the actual dispensary.  At this point, things get a little more routine, says Joel Allcock, Senior Vice President and Cultivation Director of First State Compassion Center.


"From there, they’ll be able to take a number, similar to a deli counter, where basically we’ll just call a number, number 13 or whatever, and they’ll be able to come to the counter and speak to a patient advisor," he says.


And like a deli, there are multiple items on the menu for patients here.

"There are obviously the raw flower form, or the buds. We will have lozenges, oils, topical salves and creams, concentrates such as hashish and kief," says Allcock, adding that different forms of marijuana are better for different kinds of conditions.

All of the marijuana and marijuana products are grown or made at the First State Compassion Center, as required by state law.  The medicine cultivated at the center is much higher quality than street-level marijuana, Allcock says.


Paul Hyland, the Health Systems Protection Administrator for DHSS, says medical marijuana can provide relief for many conditions. But only some of those conditions qualify a patient for a card.


"MS is a big one,  some cancer patients and some AIDS, but I’d say in terms of the umbrella of conditions, it would probably be debilitating pain. Basically knee, back, arthritis, kind of issues like that," Hyland says.


Depression and anxiety, he added, don’t qualify patients for medical marijuana in Delaware.


Right now, no insurance covers medical marijuana, even in states like Colorado and Washington, so patients will have to pay out of pocket. But Allcock says end of life or terminal patients will have access to free medical marijuana at the First State Compassion Center.