(MILFORD, Del.) - Two more medical marijuana facilities are slated to open in Delaware next year.
The first medical marijuana facility in Kent County and third in the state will open in Milford by Spring 2018, according to the Department of Health and Social Services annual Medical Marijuana Program report.
Columbia Care, a private patient care company based in New York with centers in nine states, will run the facility bringing alternative medical services to an underserved part of central Delaware.
Debra McPherson-Nau of the Delaware Patient Network, a medical marijuana advocacy group in Wilmington, said additional facilities are helpful but patient accessibility remains a problem.
"With the chosen location for the new dispensary, it's really too close to the current dispensary to really help the people in Smyrna and Dover," said McPherson-Nau. "They've been driving long distances the entire time and this new dispensary location isn't that helpful to them."
Cost, location and a lack of competition is what McPherson said is hindering the growth potential of the medical marijuana market in Delaware.
The existing dispensaries in Wilmington and Lewes are owned by First State Compassion Center.
A fourth medical dispensary in New Castle County is also expected to open by spring after state health officials found that 68 percent of marijuana cardholders live in the county.
The upcoming dispensary will be operated by Compassionate Care Research Institute, a nonprofit based in New Jersey.
"We're really elated that there's new companies coming in which will mean competition and lowering prices," said McPherson-Nau, who is also a cardholder. "Let's face it, most people that are getting medical marijuana are low-income, disabled, all having to jump through too many hoops to get it."