Back in 2008, Massachusetts voters decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Four years later, the state became the 18th to legalize medical marijuana. The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative took effect on January 1, 2013. The law allows for 35 state-licensed, non-profit dispensaries, but now the state says they will only allow up to 11.
If you’ve been following the news in Colorado, you know that stores have cropped up like weeds, but that’s not happening in Massachusetts. Deadlines have come and gone, and not a single dispensary has opened its doors.
Nearly half of the 20 applicants that were given initial approval for medical marijuana dispensaries have been eliminated after investigators took a closer look. Some had questionable corporate structures that could have diverted revenue to for-profit affiliates.
Background screening revealed other questionable situations. One group was kicked out because they did not report that one of the investors had a drug conviction. Two more are getting held up because background checks discovered the company’s CEO may have lied about having a college degree. The Governor has said, if someone lies on their application, they will not get a license.
Originally 181 applications were submitted, now, after never-ending delays, background check discoveries and financial issues, the state only has nine waiting for approval.
Many supporters of the medical marijuana movement say the process has gotten too rigorous, and that the delays are now hurting the very people the law was supposed to help. If the rest of the process goes smoothly, some dispensaries could be up and running by November, but most are not expected to open until February.