BENNINGTON — The group that last week received conditional approval for the state’s fifth medical marijuana license has a Bennington dispensary site in mind and hopes to open the facility within a few months.
William Cats-Baril, CEO of PhytoScience Institute LLC, said the group has a lease agreement for a building at 345 Elm St., which formerly housed a medical practice.
The company hopes to open a dispensary in four to five months.
PhytoScience also has conditional approval to open a dispensary in St. Albans, but a site there has not yet been selected.
“Bennington is our priority,” Cats-Baril said.
PhytoScience Institute is also looking for a site to cultivate marijuana. In the short term, Cats-Baril has agreements with two existing license holders to purchase medical marijuana for patients in Bennington and in the St. Albans area.
The company plans to run a patient-focused business. Registered patients would have scheduled appointments. The facility will not be a retail store, he said.
A PhytoScience laboratory in Waterbury researches and develops high-quality medical marijuana and performs quality testing, using proprietary methods for the Vermont Patients Alliance and other entities.
Bennington is considered to be underserved by the state sanctioned medical marijuana program, which now allows facilities in Montpelier, Brattleboro, Brandon and Burlington.
The legislation that this year allowed a fifth cultivation/dispensary license also permits each of the original license-holders to establish a satellite facility in another area, and applications have been submitted for satellite dispensaries in Middlebury, South Burlington, Williston and Hartford.
Five license applications for the new license were first reviewed by a panel including Vermont Marijuana Registry staff members, a state-registered patient and a caregiver. The committee then made recommendations to state Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson, who made the final decision.
PhytoScience Institute received conditional license approval, and now must secure a site and seek local permits. Once the facility is ready to begin operations, a final state inspection is required before the license is issued.
When the number of Vermont medical marijuana patients reaches 7,000, the state will begin seeking applications for a sixth full license, as allowed under the state legislation. As of Aug. 24, there were 4,609 patients enrolled with the Marijuana Registry.