Massachusetts’ first medical cannabis dispensary opened last week in Salem, and now more than 50 dispensary license applications have been submitted to state regulators by companies eager to claim their own space in the nascent industry.
Massachusetts began its ill-fated licensing process two years ago, but a variety of complications — from political favoritism, to executives with controversial pasts, to the discovery of questionable financial practices of several involved companies — resulted in more than two dozen lawsuits. Ultimately, 15 dispensary licenses were issued, but the program’s roll-out was delayed until last week.
Now, the state is accepting more applications, and some cannabis entrepreneurs — many of whom lost thousands of dollars vying for one of the original licenses — are scrambling at the opportunity.
The licensing process has been revamped under Governor Charlie Baker. Now, instead of pitting applications against each other using an arbitrary scoring method to determine winners, each application is to be judged for its own merits. Applications will be considered in the order they are received.
Photo Credit: Werner Kunz