Montville — The clientele at the medical marijuana dispensary in Uncasville, seeking to treat the symptoms of painful and debilitating illnesses, has almost doubled in a year and a half as the business has expanded into a larger location.
More than 4,100 people with medical marijuana cards issued by the state are customers at Thames Valley Relief, the dispensary co-founded by Laurie Zrenda and her niece Meredith Elmer in September 2014.
That’s almost double the 2,300 customers Zrenda said she had in December 2016, when she announced that the company would be moving from its Route 32 shopping center spot, snuggled between a tanning salon and a restaurant, into a new standalone building farther south on the same road.
Now employees at the dispensary are selling cannabis e-cigarettes, capsules, liquids, cookies and topical creams to customers from the New London area north to the Massachusetts border, as the only one of Connecticut’s nine dispensaries located in the eastern part of the state. Customers come to Thames Valley Relief from all of New London and Windham counties, Zrenda said.
Business at Thames Valley Relief — Zrenda and Elmer dropped the word “alternative” from its name to shorten it when the business moved — has grown with the list of medical conditions that qualify people for a medical marijuana card.
More doctors are acknowledging benefits of medical cannabis and either approving their patients’ registration for a card or referring them to one of the local practices that specialize in medical marijuana program registrations.
“The patient count is climbing all the time,” Zrenda said. “More people are opening their mind. Especially when they realize you don’t have to be high — you have products you can take that won’t make you feel impaired.”
As of this week, 26,557 Connecticut residents are registered with the state’s medical marijuana program, nearly 3,000 of