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Medical marijuana dispensary applies for East Farmingdale location

Cannabis plants in a greenhouse at Vireo Health's

Cannabis plants in a greenhouse at Vireo Health's medical marijuana cultivation facility in upstate Johnstown on August 19, 2016. Credit: Getty Images/Drew Angerer

Babylon Town officials are considering approving an application for a medical marijuana dispensary in East Farmingdale. It would be the second marijuana dispensary in Suffolk County.

Acreage Holdings officials presented their proposal to town officials Wednesday, hoping to locate its fourth dispensary called “The Botanist” in a building just north of Smith Street on Broadhollow Road. 

Acreage Holdings is one of 10 companies to receive operating licenses from the state Department of Health to grow the plant and run four dispensaries throughout the state. They have operating licenses in 19 states and will have 74 dispensaries open by the end of the year, according to the company’s chief operating officer, Robert Daino.

When Acreage Holdings spoke with town officials Wednesday, Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the town would most likely accept the application, as long as it doesn’t violate the town code, which prohibits new vape shops and hookah bars from business districts, allowing them only in industrial zoning. 

If the town were to determine a medical marijuana dispensary falls under that code, the business would need special approval to operate the location at 2635 Broadhollow Rd. 

“We want to get our code up to speed to accommodate medical marijuana locations,” Schaffer said to Daino and other Acreage staff. He later added, “I believe we have what we need . . . so you can get your building permit.”

When the medical marijuana program rolled out in 2016, only five companies were licensed to grow and then sell the drug at four dispensaries each, for a total of 20 statewide. That number has since doubled to 40, and the East Farmingdale dispensary would be among those additional locations.

The only other dispensary in Suffolk County is on Main Street in Riverhead, run by Columbia Care. A third dispensary owned by Valley Agriceuticals LLC is listed on the Department of Health’s website as coming soon to Suffolk County, without a specific town. 

There are two dispensaries in Nassau County, one on Glen Cove Road in Carle Place, and one on Marcus Avenue in Lake Success. The Department of Health lists a third as coming soon to Nassau, although no town is listed.

Only New York State residents who have qualifying conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, and most recently, PTSD and chronic pain, can apply for the program.

Insurance doesn’t cover the treatment, so patients must pay out-of-pocket.

Patients with a qualifying condition must get a referral from a doctor trained in the state’s medical marijuana program, then apply for a Department of Health ID card.

The program, passed as New York's Compassionate Care Act in 2014, allows medical marijuana in non-smokable form, in pill or oil form.

As of Jan. 15, there are 87,033 certified patients and 2,139 registered practitioners in the state.

Acreage Holdings, formerly known as High Street Capital Partners, made news when former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner became an investor after leaving office.

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