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Massachusetts Overhauls Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing

Massachusetts Overhauls Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing

In an effort to improve the current system, which simply is not making progress, the state of Massachusetts has completely overhauled the process for licensing medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay State.

Although the sale of medical marijuana was approved by voters in Massachusetts back in 2012, zero dispensaries have actually been able to open for business. This is largely due to the licensing system established under the former state administration.

Until now, the regulatory system has been subjective, and the process amounted to, among other things, considering the relative merits of one dispensary over another. The end result was that no dispensaries were opened, and instead the controversy over the entire methodology fostered more than two dozen lawsuits.

The new process will look at each application on its own, treating each one much the same as license applications for pharmacies and other types of healthcare facilities. As long as the application meets the new standards, it can be moved forward in the licensing process. No cap has been placed on the number of facilities that can be licensed each year.

massachusetts mmj

According to Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel (pictured above),

“This change creates a more streamlined, efficient, and transparent process that allows the Commonwealth to maintain the highest standards of both public safety and accessibility.”

A big change that applicants are particularly pleased about is the support pledged by the current administration to answering questions and guiding them through the process. Lack of proper communication was one of the many complaints under the old system and administration, which left applicants uncertain as to the problems in their applications or how to resolve them.

One of the guidelines that will be retained but overhauled is the necessity for background checks. While these are still required, it will now be clear to applicants exactly which types of offenses in a person’s background are unacceptable, as well as allowing the company in question the opportunity to remove that person from the project.

Several companies that were previously denied have plans to resubmit their applications under the new guidelines. With the new open communication between applicants and the Massachusetts administration, it seems likely that patients in need will finally be able to get their prescriptions filled one day soon.

photo credit: masslive

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