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Apr 30, 2016 5:53 PM

Patients share excitement as NH's 1st marijuana dispensary opens it's doors

PLYMOUTH - The state's first alternative treatment center opened its doors Saturday morning in Plymouth, nearly three years after medical marijuana became legal in New Hampshire.

Sanctuary ATC was officially the first alternative treatment center in New Hampshire to dispense therapeutic cannabis.

"I'm the first, I'm smiling from ear-to-ear," said a local man who has been suffering from chronic back pain for the past 10 years. He said after being prescribed opiates in the past, marijuana is the only safe alternative.

"You don't get addicted to weed. You could stop tomorrow," he said. "But being on meds? Once you've been on them for 7 days you're addicted, and it's a hard thing to come off."

Sanctuary ATC is a non-profit organization not only providing organic medicine, but also creating an educational and comfortable environment for those suffering from serious medical conditions, such as cancer, glaucoma, ALS, Alzheimer's Disease, and epilepsy.

"I've been talking to and I've met people that are dying of Stage IV cancer," said Dr. David Syrek, ATC's medical director. "They don't want to be all narcoticked out, and on opiates and not be able to be with their grandchildren or be with their husband or spouse. And you know, just live a quality life and this is what cannabis can give them."

"When you have a terrible disease and you're not feeling good it goes all throughout your body," Meredith resident and cancer patient Tina Perkins said. "When I use it, I can function, you know? I can take care of my little boy, here, and it's just marvelous."

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is implementing the Therapeutic Cannabis Program, which will include four dispensary locations. Temescal Wellness, Inc., which has received a conditional registration certificate and is cultivating therapeutic cannabis, will open its dispensaries in Dover and Lebanon in the next few weeks. Prime ATC, which is completing construction of its cultivation center, expects to open its dispensary in Merrimack later this summer.

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