EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

May 17, 2014

Judge: Marijuana licensing process can proceed

BOSTON (AP) — A state judge has rejected efforts to temporarily halt Massachusetts’ process for licensing medical marijuana dispensaries.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mary K. Ames denied requests by three potential medical marijuana providers to issue a preliminary injunction preventing the state from finalizing the licensing process until their cases are adjudicated, according to recent documents filed in the cases.

The three companies — 1 Releaf Inc., Apex Compassion & Wellness Center and the Striar Center for Compassionate Care — had been among 100 applicants for a state dispensary license, but were not among the 20 chosen by the state Department of Public Health to earn a “provisional” license in January.

At least two other companies — the Timothy Walsh Foundation and Prospect Lake Inc. — have also filed suit challenging the process, which the public health department hopes to complete this summer.

Public Health Department spokesman David Kibbe said officials still are vetting the remaining 20 applicants, a process that includes background checks on anyone involved with the proposed dispensaries.

Massachusetts’ medical marijuana law, which took effect in January 2013, allows for up to 35 state-licensed dispensaries authorized to grow and sell marijuana to qualified patients for the treatment of cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and other ailments.

In her ruling, Ames said the three companies had not shown they would face irreparable harm if the state continued to vet the remaining applicants. Even if the state issues final approval to all 20 provisional license holders before the cases are decided, there will still be 15 more marijuana licenses the plaintiffs could seek under state law, Ames wrote.

Jonathan Rutley, a lawyer representing the Apex Compassion & Wellness Center and the Striar Center for Compassionate Care, said this week that his clients will continue pursuing their lawsuits.

He said they will push for the state to disclose the full, un-redacted applications from companies seeking a dispensary license, as well as documents related to the scoring of applicants.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
Boston and Beyond

New England News
Photos of the Week