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Long Island company eyes Setauket for a marijuana dispensary

A Long Island company is eyeing office space in Setauket for Suffolk County’s second medical marijuana dispensary.

Nepenthea LLC, a consortium of about 10 local doctors, hopes to open the facility at an office building on Technology Drive, a tree-lined strip of medical and science-based businesses near Stony Brook University.

If the dispensary opens, it would be the first in Brookhaven Town and the third on Long Island, joining existing facilities in Riverhead and Lake Success.

Nepenthea must first receive a license from the state Department of Health, which has so far awarded medical marijuana dispensary licenses to only five companies. Those companies operate 19 dispensaries throughout the state.

Nepenthea chief executive Chris Etts said he does not know when the Setauket dispensary might open. He said the company plans to submit an application to the health department in about a month.

“We’re trying to fine-tune our application,” Etts said in an interview Tuesday. “I have no time frame in mind.”

Online records show Nepenthea was one of 43 companies that applied for a state medical marijuana license in 2015. The health department ranked the applicants using a formula that included criteria such as security, transportation, distribution, sales and dispensing. Nepenthea ranked 34th among the 43 firms.

In a statement, a spokeswoman said the health department “is undertaking a cautious, phased-in approach to ensure a smooth integration of up to five additional registered organizations into the industry during the next two years. ... The timing of any entry and the location of dispensing facilities is still being examined carefully.”

Etts said company officials have not decided where they will grow marijuana for the dispensary.

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, who represents Setauket, declined to comment, a town spokesman said.

Three Village Civic Association president Jonathan Kornreich said the group would discuss the Nepenthea proposal when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in East Setauket. Etts said he plans to speak at the meeting. He added local support is required for a state license.

Kornreich, also a member of the Three Village school board, said he doesn’t expect the dispensary to cause disruption in the community if it opens. He said he had been told the facility would have a “tremendous amount of security,” and only small doses of marijuana for medical use would be sold there.

“From what I understand, I believe that the potential medical benefits are significant, and they appear to be well documented,” Kornreich said in an interview. “They only sell small quantities, and it’s very, very carefully controlled, so I don’t think this is going to find its way into the hands of kids.”

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