Massachusetts’ First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Finally Opens

Published on June 24, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020
After a two-month closure, recreational cannabis stores are set to reopen on Monday, May 25. Order online, because it's curbside pickup only.

The wait is finally over for impatient medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts – the state's first medical marijuana dispensary is at long last scheduled to open today.

Since Massachusetts signed a medical marijuana law in 2012, its implementation has faced numerous delays and errors. After a lengthy approval process, nearly every applicant was rejected, which resulted in over a dozen lawsuits against the state. A Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff upon determining that the committee had disregarded their own guidelines during the review process.

Thankfully, today Massachusetts will at long last welcome the grand opening of its first (and so far only) dispensary. The lucky business is… (drumroll, please):

Alternative Therapies Group in Salem, Massachusetts!

Funny enough, this dispensary also nearly missed the boat. One of the requirements of the law is that all product is tested for mold, contaminants and pesticides. That sounds great in theory, but during the actual testing process, it became apparent that there are no testing facilities in the state that can complete the required test for seven of 18 pesticides listed in the law. This led to a one-time, temporary waiver from Governor Charlie Baker solely for Alternative Therapies Group, as long as the cannabis being sold is clearly labeled with a disclaimer that it has not been tested for all pesticides.

There are currently 18,512 patients who have been certified by the Department of Health and Human Services, with another 9,150 registrations being reviewed. That’s a whole lot of patients who have had a whole lot of patience these past three years.

If you are already a registered patient, please contact Alternative Therapies Group to make an appointment to come in. If you would like to get certified, here's information for patients and caregivers.

Congratulations, Massachusetts! Now let's get some more dispensaries open — hopefully it won't take another three years!

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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