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158 Massachusetts Dispensaries Make the First Cut for 35 Openings

By Rebecca Kelley — 9/24/2013

Last month, I wrote about how the Massachusetts Department of Public Health collected "Phase 1" applications from hopeful dispensary owners for 35 medical marijuana dispensary openings available in the state. The department received 181 applications and was working to sift down the initial list to complete Phase 1. Well, Phase 1 is officially winding down and the department was able to whittle the original list of 181 applicants down to 158

Cheryl Bartlett, the state's public health commissioner, said, "We had underestimated the number who would apply and would have the capacity to do this." Only one applicant withdrew while the remaining 22 failed to meet the department's criteria, which included a required start-up capital of at least $500,000, nonprofit status, and no felony drug convictions.

The next phase of the application process includes a $30,000 nonrefundable application fee, meaning if all 158 dispensaries are still interested in opening up shop in Massachusetts, 123 of them will be shelling out a total of $3.69 million and will still face rejection. The lucky 35, who likely won't be chosen until early next year, could be up and running within 120 days of the announcement (though that's a pretty quick estimate). 

A lot of hopeful dispensary owners are going to be pacing nervously this fall until the final list is announced, so here's hoping they find out sooner rather than later.