Compassionate Care Foundation will open its second medical cannabis dispensary Saturday at 1301 Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
This is CCF’s first satellite location. Its original location in Egg Harbor Township opened in 2013, and according to Chair of the Board Dave Knowlton, opening the Atlantic City location “seems like a culmination of a big trek to be here today.”
“We’re interested in expanding the provision of medical cannabis to the people of this community,” Knowlton said. “We’re also interested in adding to the excitement of revamping Atlantic City, and being a part of the economic growth of the city, and providing employment and economic opportunity.”
Locating on the boardwalk had nothing to do with the potential of a future adult-use market in New Jersey, according to Knowlton, who is also one of CCF’s founding board members.
“When we went after Atlantic City, recreational [cannabis] wasn’t even on the radar. I’ve felt for a long time that we wanted to be somewhere where there was a population coming to a destination, and Atlantic City fit that bill,” Knowlton said. “People forget that someone can be living up in Bergen County coming down for a long weekend with his family, and he’ll need access to his medication, and he can get it down here.”
CCF’s vertically integrated facility in Egg Harbor Township serves around 250 patients per day, according to CCF General Manager Cady Riley, and about 6,800 patients altogether.
In regard to projecting the patient population that the Atlantic City satellite will serve, she said it’s “hard to say.”
“In Atlantic City proper, there’s a little less than 10 percent of our patient base, but Atlantic County is the largest portion of our patient base, so I think a lot of people that might be coming down for the weekend are more likely to stop in here than in Egg Harbor,” Riley said. “We have patients who drive over two hours to come in, and some who are right down the street who come in every day.”
Keeping up with demand
The Botanist by Compassionate Care Foundation will initially have flower-only products in stock. However, an early 2020 approval by the state for extraction has allowed CCF to develop an extracted product set for release in about one month, according to Director of Expansion and Implementation Tim Weigand.
The first extracted product, CO2 Sap, is a whole-plant solvent-free extracted oil that can be taken sublingually, put into food or vaporized. It will be sold in a syringe by individual strains, such as Blueberry or Frosted Kush, that allows for specific dosing.
CCF is looking at other satellite locations in South Jersey, including Williamstown.
It’s also planning to build out its Egg Harbor Township grow facility from 10,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet.
“We’re aiming to have our project completed by the end of this year. We have to keep up with the demand,” said Weigand. “There’s going to be a lot of uptick. After that, extraction will have to be built out again because they’ll have more product to extract, and our dispensary will have to be outfitted again because we’ll be dealing with more patients. [There’s] a lot of growth.”
The Botanist by CCF is Atlantic City’s first and only medical cannabis dispensary. However, MPX New Jersey, a subsidiary of national cannabis firm iAnthus, has plans to open up another dispensary in town as well. CCF applied for a stay to the process in January 2019 on the grounds of geographic diversity, but was denied.
The Botanist by CCF will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.