Two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Approved for Western Mass.
BOSTON (WGGB) — The first 20 registered Marijuana dispensaries have been approved, with two of those set for western Massachusetts.
Locally, Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Centers, Inc. was approved for a facility in Holyoke, and New England Treatment Access was approved in Northampton.
The state’s Registered Medical Marijuana Dispensary Selection Committee made the determinations for provisional licensure after reviewing 100 finalists, using what they call “objective scoring guided by state procurement principles.”
Those principles included “extensive background checks and was based on factors such as overall quality of the application, appropriateness of the site, local support, and the applicant’s ability to meet the overall health needs of registered patients while ensuring public safety.”
For Holyoke and Northampton, it was a long and tedious process.
Kevin Fisher is the Executive Director and CEO of New England Treatment Access, which will operate in Northampton.
“It’s very in-depth…the required financials, the background vetting, the way they scored the application,” Fisher said of the application. “It was a very long and very intense process.”
Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Centers, Inc. of Holyoke and New England Treatment Access in Northampton are the only two applicants to be awarded licenses in Western Mass. But before they can open, there’s another challenge. The state wants them to be operational in just seven months.
According to Brian Lees, Clerk for the Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Centers, that is going to be a lot of work.
“We’re going to have to retro fit the building, then we’re going to have to start growing and processing. There has to be a processing center because the product will come in several different forms, including lozenges and salves and things like that, and then you have to dispense it,” Lees explained.
The granting of a license in Holyoke comes welcome news, where the dispensary will not only create jobs, it will also pay taxes to the city.
“This is a win for the city from an economic perspective, but it’s also a win for those from Holyoke that are going to rely on the treatment available at those centers,” Mayor Alex Morse told us.
Kevin Fisher has a retail location for adult recreational marijuana use as well as a medical marijuana facility in Colorado. He believes the adoption of medical marijuana in Massachusetts will have an impact on the entire country.
“I truly believe that Massachusetts is going to be the turning point in this country where main stream medical establishments start coming behind cannabis therapy,” Fisher said.
A law approved by voters in November 2012 allows marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
In a statement, Walpole Deputy Police John Carmichael, Jr., who is also a selection committee member, says, “The Selection Committee included members with diverse skills and disciplines, working together to recommend only the most qualified Registered Marijuana Dispensaries. These recommendations are based on objective benchmarks including geographic dispersion, patient access, security and readiness to operate. The citizens of the Commonwealth can be assured that this process was thoroughly and accurately vetted.”
CLICK HERE for a complete list of approved dispensaries.