Twenty dispensaries have been licensed in Massachusetts to start growing and selling marijuana for medical use. Regulators in the state were given 100 applications to open dispensaries in 2012, with permission to offer up to 35 licenses.
An official with the state’s Department of Health offered no reason that only 20 licenses were given, but the department’s website said eight applicants who did not receive licenses were instructed to find different proposed locations. Ten of the state’s fourteen counties now have approved dispensaries.
Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-marijuana lobbying group that hails from Colorado, said licensed dispensaries would halt personal growing and black market buying. She added, “This is in line with what every other medical marijuana state is doing, but we are disappointed by the low number of licenses granted. People shouldn’t have to grow their medicine or buy it underground.”
O’Keefe concluded that the dispensaries would reduce the price for marijuana, noting that in Colorado, where there are numerous dispensaries, marijuana prices have been halved.