Delaware awards third and final MMJ business license

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Delaware health department officials have awarded the state’s third and final medical marijuana business license to the First State Compassion Center.

First State, which opened Delaware’s first dispensary in Wilmington in June 2015, now has control of two of the state’s three MMJ businesses.

The state’s other dispensary, Columbia Care, was awarded Delaware’s second license on Sept. 23.

Joe Handlon, an attorney with Delaware’s justice department, said First State’s Sussex County location could be open as soon as January because it can obtain product from its Wilmington cultivation site, according to the Cape Gazette. Delaware’s medical marijuana law mandates vertical integration between retailers and cultivators.

Under Delaware’s medical marijuana law, one dispensary is allowed in each of the state’s three counties.

First State’s newly awarded license is for a storefront slated for Sussex County, the second-most populous county in Delaware. The company opened its first dispensary in New Castle County, the most populous county in the state.

Columbia Care is expected to open in the second half of 2017 in Kent County, though the dispensary’s exact location has not been disclosed. Columbia Care also has operations in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and Washington DC.

The status of First State’s second license was first disclosed Friday by Handlon, who was representing the state during court proceedings, according to the Cape Gazette. However, no one would confirm the license before the official announcement was made Monday.

The court case involved a lawsuit filed by a Delaware resident against the state for slow implementation of the MMJ plan. Delaware legalized medical cannabis in 2011.