Update: March opening planned for 2nd medical marijuana dispensary in New Castle County

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A New Jersey organization is expected to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the Newark area in early March.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services cautioned that the date can be pushed back by permitting and other issues for what the state describes as compassion centers.

Compassionate Care Reseach Institute received the contract for the facility in 2017. Compassionate Care officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sentiment has been growing for a second compassion center in New Castle County that would join the First State Compassion Center west of Wilmington. First State also operates a store in Sussex County.

A Delawareonline story stated that the New Jersey institute has been involved in cultivation and dispensary activities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the epicenter of the marijuana industry, Colorado.

Pennsylvania and Maryland are in the early stages of rolling out a medical marijuana industry with neighboring Cecil County, MD to be the site of one growing operation.

Delaware Health and Social Services spokesperson Emily Knearl said in 1917 the department decided to go outside the bidding process, due to delays and cost pressures it would cause.

Under state law, DHSS is allowed to do use alternate means to award the contract. noted that two-thirds of use of medical marijuana prescription activity.

Knearlnoted that two-thirds of use of medical marijuana prescription activity involves New Castle residents.

Knearl said the location is in New Castle County. However, the department cannot reveal the address, which would be both a dispensing and grow operation that would probably require a warehouse/industrial site and heavy security.

Click here for other Delaware Business Now stories on medical marijuana.

The selection process was criticized a few years ago when First State Compassion Center was selected. The organization is headed by a well-connected former legislative aide and a former state trooper. First State did partner with an organization with experience in running medical marijuana facilities.

First State both grows and sells medical marijuana at a site on Germay Drive, just west of Wilmington. It also operates a dispensary in Lewes that was opened in 2107after numerous delays.

A dispensary in Kent County has opened, according to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services website. That site will not be operated by First State.

An effort to legalize marijuana for recreational failed during the past legislative session.

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