Three companies have just received a provisional approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to open four medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. These four dispensaries are proposed to be opened in counties where no provisionally approved medical cannabis dispensaries are available.
Patriot Care Corp. (which already has another dispensary in the works) has received approval for dispensaries at 21st Milk Street in Boston and 7th Legion Avenue in Greenfield. Similarly, Coastal Compassion Inc. has proposed a facility at 2nd Pequod Road in Fairhaven and Mass Medium Corp. a facility on Revolutionary Drive in Taunton. All these new dispensaries were approved to enter the inspection and permitting phase.
The competition was stiff as more than 100 companies entered the race to receive licenses to dispense a substance that has even been legalized for recreational use in states such as Colorado. Most of these 100 companies were disqualified after inspectors noted inconsistencies regarding applications as well as direct disregard for guidelines handed down by regulatory agencies.
In some cases, applicants were even found to have falsified the information they provided to become eligible for receiving licenses.
“I am pleased with the steady progress we are making and expect the first dispensaries to open later this winter. By expanding access into these additional counties, we are promoting our goals of patient access and public safety.”
Karen van Unen, the director for Medical Use of Marijuana Program said.
In the meantime, eleven dispensaries which have already received approvals are moving through permitting and inspection processes until they may finally receive their registration certificates.
The president of Coastal Compassion, Tim Keogh, was also pleased that the Department of Public Heath was supporting this program and its advance. Karen van Unen also applauded the Department of Health’s position and the progress it has been causing, claiming that the companies are now in a fabulous spot.
“We’re very excited about moving this program forward, providing safe access to patients who can benefit from access to cannabis.”
Tim Keogh said.
Sadly, the program is currently behind timetables set by a new state law approved in November 2012. The Department of Public Health was accused by patient advocates of not making the necessary arrangements to ensure that patients have easy access to medical marijuana. Additionally, the DPH also received criticism for not vetting applicants thoroughly before 20 dispensaries were approved in January. Nine out of the 20 dispensaries were later eliminated.
“[We want to] ensure that we meet the voters’ will and ensure that we have at least one dispensary in every county, as well as serving the under-served areas.”
van Unen said.