Medical marijuana dispensaries are becoming a reality in Vermont. The Department of Public Safety is accepting applications from non-profit groups to build and operate dispensaries in the state. Up to four medical marijuana dispensaries will be certified.
Jeff Wallin is director of the Vermont Criminal Information Center, which is reviewing the applicants. Wallin says a panel devised strict rules to govern the creation and operation of the dispensaries. The guidelines deal with patient confidentiality, require a sustainable business plan, and address security at the facilities. "That doesn’t just mean a padlock on the door," Wallin say. "It means having the surrounding area clear of debris, lit, an appropriate security system on the door, potentially video or audio cameras, a way to track employees as they come and go – these sorts of things, so that we minimize the chance of anything being diverted."
The dispensaries are intended to solve a problem that medical marijuana patients have had with the current program which requires them to grow their own plants. About 500 people are on the Vermont marijuana registry.
Wallin expects the first dispensaries will open in six to nine months.