BURLINGTON (AP) -- Two medical marijuana dispensaries have opened in Vermont after the Legislature passed a law allowing the drug to be dispensed to patients with chronic illness or intractable pain.
Champlain Valley Dispensary opened Monday in Burlington and the Vermont Patients Alliance opened a similar dispensary in Montpelier days before.
A third facility is planned in Brandon.
"This is a groundbreaking. It's important and exciting to be doing this in Burlington," said Shayne Lynn, proprietor of the Burlington dispensary.
Two years ago the Legislature passed a law permitting medical marijuana to be dispensed under strict rules.
They are required to grow their own marijuana in a secure environment. Customers must be qualified to buy the drug and show proof of that from the state. They then make an appointment to pick up the drug.
The dispensary also must consider what marijuana is selling for on the black market when it sets a price.
"We have to be concerned about the black market price. We can't undercut that price, because that might cause someone to resell it," he said.
The Burlington dispensary does offer a sliding scale to patients who can't pay the full price, he said.
The dispensary provides two strains of marijuana in three different potencies.
The drug goes for $225 to $450 an ounce, depending on its quality but most patients get smaller amounts. The dispensary serves 12-15 patients.
Lynn said he plans to pull back on his commercial photography business to dedicate himself to the dispensary.
"I totally believe in the plant and the science behind it. I had a very close friend who was a patient; I could see the relief he was getting from using cannabis. It was the one thing that got him through chemotherapy," he said.