Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Few And Far Between In Western, Central Mass.

State officials granted 20 licenses, out of a possible 35

Health officials in Massachusetts announced the first ever licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries Friday. Twenty companies were awarded the provisional licenses, but just four of those are in central or western Massachusetts.

The four licenses were awarded to proposed dispensaries in Holyoke, Northampton, Milford, and Worcester. A total of thirty companies had targeted the western and central counties of the state. No medical marijuana licenses were given to applicants in Franklin or Berkshire counties, though the law requires each county to have at least one.

“We really thought we’d have at least one dispensary in Berkshire County, whether it was in Pittsfield or another community” says Pittsfield City Planner CJ Hoss, “but it is surprising that Berkshire County didn’t receive even one.”

Two companies had sought licenses in Pittsfield. The Department of Public Health has invited six companies that didn’t get a license to re-apply in the counties without a dispensary, and Hoss says he would welcome new applicants to apply in Pittsfield. The awarded licenses are still provisional. Companies will have to meet local requirements before they can open their doors.

Check out the DPH’s map of dispensary licenses awarded on Friday.