Rochester’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened in late January, according the the Democrat and Chronicle. Patients began arriving at the Eastman Business Park location within hours of opening.


Managed by Columbia Care, the Rochester dispensary is the third of four that have been opened in the state. Service is by appointment only and is accessible only to state-registered patients. Staff members must accompany patients as soon as they enter the dispensing area.


Several physicians with the University of Rochester Medical Center have registered in order to be able to certify patients. Columbia Care plans to finalize a research partnership with the Medical Center, focusing on how effective medical marijuana is at helping those treated.


WHAM Rochester reports that two forms of medical cannabis are available at the dispensary — both liquid tinctures, ingested by placement with droplets on the tongue. They were made from marijuana plants grown on premises at the Eastman Business Park. More products, such as capsules and concentrates, are expected to be available soon.


The opening of this dispensary is a part of a national movement towards the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana use across the country. Medical use is now legal in 24 states, all with different laws concerning growing the cannabis plant and possession limit for legal uses. They all require a medical doctor’s prescription to access the distributing dispensaries.


The mounting popularity of medical marijuana for the treatment of a variety of conditions, namely pain, is also connected to the fast spreading trend of alternative medical treatments. Just as many Americans turn to cannabis to relieve pain, another 14 million Americans have tried acupuncture at some point, according to the statistics from the National Health Interview Survey; the treatment can allegedly reduce pain by about 50%.


The dispensary in Eastman Business Park is starting slow — as of now, only 71 patients have enrolled as of last week, and the dispensary will be open only one day a week. As Rochester’s first medical marijuana distribution center gains support and confidence within the medical community, Columbia Care plans to expand its operations to accommodate for more patients.