Medical marijuana distributor awaits state’s green light

March 19, 2014 • Local News

A [auth] medical marijuana distributor could legally open its doors at an undisclosed location in Roswell by next week, following a state inspection.

Compassionate Distributors of Ruidoso has moved into a building, installed extensive security systems and is ready for a final inspection by the state Department of Health.

The DOH has scheduled the inspection for next week, said co-owner Mandy Denson.

“I’m excited. As soon as they come down and inspect us, and give us the green light, we’re ready to go,” Denson said.

The distributor was granted a city business license by applying as a professional medical office of alternative health care, Denson said.

In December, City Councilors debated whether to remove a special-use designation in certain business and commercial districts that would have required extra approvals for medical marijuana distributors.

“The way they resolved it, in the end, was they voted to remove language for the special use condition for medical marijuana,” Denson said. “It means I can apply in any general-use categories.”

The move paved the way for Compassionate Distributors to proceed with plans to open the satellite location.

Last month, the DOH also announced a plan to add 12 more distributors in the state to meet an increasing demand. The state has 23 licensed nonprofit distributors, mostly in the northern region.

Under a new proposal, producers would be able to boost crops to keep up with a growing number of patients.

New Mexico was the first in the nation to have its health department license and regulate a nonprofit medical marijuana distribution system.

Compassionate Distributors operates its Ruidoso shop from a professional business center. Licensed patients often drive long distances from across Southeast New Mexico to purchase marijuana and other products that contain marijuana.

The Roswell shop will have several security and surveillance systems, Denson said.

“We’re going to have an excellent security system that’s going to be uploaded with full camera surveillance and buzz-in door systems,” Denson said. “That’s important for the Department of Health, to ensure the safety of the patients and everyone. And that’s one of the last things we’re working on. It’s being done this week.”

The security system should be completed by the time the DOH performs its final inspection, she said.

Denson preferred not to disclose the location until after final approval, she said.

“I think it’s more appropriate to keep that location quiet,” Denson said. “Once we do have our approval, we plan on putting signs up, so people are aware of where we’re located.”

Denson also said she plans to display public signs and provide information and resources for people about where they can contact physicians to obtain medical cannabis cards, she said.

In the meantime, local patients are excited about the possibility of greater accessibility to their medication.

“We’ve already been telling our patients,” Denson said. “We’re hopeful the Department of Health approves our request for this satellite location.”

Patients in Hobbs, Carlsbad and other areas can more easily access the location, but Compassionate Distributors plans to continue monthly deliveries to those areas, Denson said.

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