Want to Open a Medical Pot Dispensary? Grab Your Checkbook.

Nine months after Massachusetts voters signed off on medical marijuana, the state is now starting to accept applications for pot dispensaries.

Those looking to open up dispensaries need to have a lot of cash on-hand even to apply. They need to prove they have $500,000 in escrow, to get the business going.  They also have to pass a background check.

If that all goes smoothly, applicants advance to phase 2, which requires them to pay a $30,000 fee. A selection committee will evaluate and score those applications based on a number of criteria including the appropriateness of the location and local support. 

Meanwhile the state is not dictating how much dispensaries would have to charge for marijuana.  But Valerio Romano, a lawyer in Boston who represents people planning to apply for the licenses, says patients can expect to pay street price – about $300 an ounce.  Otherwise, he says, a black market could develop:

 “If a dispensary is providing that cannabis to a patient at super low cost, and you’re a patient who doesn’t have funds, there are some patients who might take advantage of that and turn around and sell it on the street and make a profit,” Romano says.

The deadline for phase 1 applications is August 22nd.