With few complaints, Vermont seeks fourth marijuana dispensary

VERMONT: The deadline is nearing for applications to run the state’s fourth medical marijuana dispensary. If the process goes anything like the first three, it will be something like this:

• It will be long, detailed and not for the faint of heart or the cash poor. Unique issues will arise because dispensaries are in an odd business of legally selling something that is otherwise illegal.

• Though the applicants have to file detailed information about who they are, how they plan to run a dispensary and where they are getting their money, state officials will tell us all very little about any of it, ostensibly to protect patient confidentiality but also because it seems to give them the jitters, what with marijuana being otherwise illegal.

• If and when the dispensary finally opens, it will generate little attention. Just about the only complaints will be that the marijuana is not covered by medical insurance.

In the two months since Shayne Lynn started operating the Champlain Valley Dispensary, he’s learned a lot, attracted more customers than he expected and had no interactions with the local police, he said.

Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling, who had been worried about having a dispensary in the city, said Monday, “I’m not aware of any issues.”

Lindsay Wells, the state’s marijuana program administrator, said the state has received few complaints about the first dispensaries, and only from patients with concerns about access, not from the general public.

“Some patients didn’t realize it’s not covered by insurance,” Wells said. Others registered complaints about not being able to reach a dispensary, but those issues have been resolved, she said.

Lynn thought he’d have about 75 clients by now. He has 175. “People had been waiting for this,” he said. “We didn’t realize how anxious people are to have this. People say, ‘My God, this is such a relief.’”

The Champlain Valley Dispensary operates from an unmarked office near Burlington’s Waterfront. Lynn is not allowed by the state to reveal its location, a fact that he said has been both good and bad as customers, who make appointments via telephone or the Internet. Some customers initially have had a hard time finding the dispensary, but there have also been no security issues. (The dispensary does have an online address it can reveal at www.cvdvt.org.)

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