Massachusetts public health officials have narrowed the number of groups allowed to continue pursuing licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries. Now 158 applications remain for 35 licenses.
Under the law passed in a referendum last year, up to five dispensaries can set up shop in each county. After an initial round of background and financial checks, 38 applications for western and central Massachusetts counties were given the OK to continue. Nial DeMena is with Manna Wellness, a group looking to set up a dispensary in Pittsfield. The group passed the first phase application.
“We haven’t gotten through phase two yet, we haven’t seen the application, so it would be to early for me to say we’re going to definitely make it,” says DeMena, “but we all feel very, very positive about the way things are going.”
DeMena’s organization is one of three hoping for a license in Berkshire County. Four applicants in central and western counties were rejected in the process, one each in Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester counties. A second Worcester application was marked as “withdrawn.” The applicants now advance to a second phase, which requires a $30,000 fee. The state public health department plans to award licenses before the end of the year.