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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.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • weasel

    And proud of it. Destroy the mind and line your pockets politicians. This Country no longer has a right or wrong. Do what you enjoy regardless of the impact on others.

  • alpinequeen

    The potheads are busily scribbling in their notebooks since they won’t remember any of this.

  • loki

    For those of you who mock this break through, how about those people who would rather eat a medical cookie than take a pain pill for their illnesses? I don’t see you saying a word about the pill problem that is spreading like the plague. My sister has lupus and I would rather have her smoke “the devils lettuce” than take a pain pill any day of the week.

  • xxmeganxx98

    HA.. Ignorance is bliss “alpinequeen”. So does that make people who forget to take their medications, who are against medical marijuana ignorant because they can’t remember? Maybe you should spend some legitimate time doing some actual research.. It’s not all about getting “messed up” or “high”. How about for the innocent children who have SEVERE cases of epilepsy ( over 100 seizures a day ) who take these prescription drugs made up by OUR G’ovt and their symptoms have become WORSE than without the prescription meds. There is CBD in these plants that have slowed down the progression of many illnesses just like the extreme cases of epilepsy that has left these poor children in a almost comatose state, they become immobile.. I think it says a lot more than these “good” pills. I would never wish sickness upon anybody, but it seems like the people who ignorantly speak? have almost perfect health and have never been at their wits end medically speaking to help their own child or themselves for that matter! Please take the time and do your research before making ignorant comments, but like I said ignorance is bliss right ? :)

    • alpinequeen

      What you call “ignorance” is just a personal opinion against my feelings towards selling smokable medical marijuana in retail locations. You have been blinded by the medical marijuana bandwagon. The powers that be have seized upon the changing public perception of marijuana use and are intent on cashing in on the control and licensing of marijuana medical dispensaries and eventually the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

      According to the American Lung Association, marijuana smoke contains a higher amount of carcinogens than tobacco smoke and over time its use can lead to cognitive impairment and organ damage. Finding safer alternatives to medical marijuana is vital to help treat symptoms without harming the body.

      Marijuana’s legislated use as a prescription drug circumvents standard drug safety protocols and is not the standard of care. There is a safer drug alternative for some patients that mimics THC’s effects.

      “There is no scientific evidence that marijuana, which contains over 450 chemicals, many with harmful effects, is safe or effective for any medical condition. Synthetic THC, dronabinol, has been approved by the FDA for limited use as an anti-emetic agent for chemotherapy patients who fail to respond to other drugs, and as an appetite stimulant in low dosages for patients with AIDS wasting syndrome. This pharmaceutical is available by prescription (Marinol) and differs from crude marijuana in that it is a single, pure substance in stable, quantified dose.” Why not use Marinol instead of legislating medical marijuana stores? Because the state can make a pile of money.

      Let me repeat, medical marijuana already exists. It’s called Marinol. A pharmaceutical product, Marinol, is widely available through prescription, but the state can’t make any money of of that.

      A report published in the “British Medical Journal” that reviewed nine trials that compared marijuana with other pain medications found that marijuana was no more effective than codeine in controlling acute, chronic, or cancer pain.

      If you build it, they will come and the bottom line is money for the state as all the potheads will eagerly flock to it as they have in Colorado.

  • xxmeganxx98

    It’s understandable that people have their own point of views. There are pros and cons to everything in this so called life were all living. Yes the govt will make money, but isn’t that what they are already doing with just about everything else? I’m only trying to bring other views to the table for people who are absolutely against it. And as for marijuana having more carcinogens than tabacco, I have seen patients with extreme asthma who get some relief from it. All bodies do in fact react differently, that’s no new news. The government is so quick to shove narcatic prescriptions along with pain management contracts down patients throats and what amazing good comes from these pills? Sure it does help patients, but my choice between narcotics or a plant.. I pick the plant. Have you seen over does from marijuana? No. You do in fact see overdoses, addictions and deaths from these pills though. And just because I do support the legalization and the medical advancement we could receive from this plant does not mean down the road will I ever agree with all these other drugs like meth, etc. to become legal. I respect other people’s “opinions” I just don’t respect the constant classification, a good majority of anti-marijuana groups that make it seem like the people who do support it aren’t able to “remember” this or that, or whatever comments come out of their mouths. Also Just because a lot of others don’t support what’s going on does not mean that no good comes from it. For me, to see 4 & 5 year olds be able to finally live their own lives and actually be a child again is something you couldn’t ever put a price on and those types of cases should be making the headlines and shouldn’t go unknown either.

    • alpinequeen

      There are alternatives to using marijuana. You mentioned asthma. Ever since they took Primatene Mist off the market because of CFC’s, I started using Breath Easy tea and Greek peppers for the few times I have a little discomfort. Carcinogens in smoke have no bearing on whatever therapeutic effects it has. The few times a doctor has prescribed a pain medication I didn’t want, I told them no, I’ll take Ibuprofen. I had friends who smoked pot back in the 70’s but they couldn’t do it around me because the smell made me throw up, seriously. Making a comparison to marijuana use and other drugs here is not valid. It’s about the drug delivery system being set up to be licensed and overseen by the state. In other news and because of your screen name, does the word “Navion” have any meaning for you?

  • xxmeganxx98

    And exactly your proving my point it’s all these ” prescription ” drugs. You should have the right to pick between both and if ” marinol ” ? is already a prescription then what is the issue with having dispensaries or anything else? Because the pharmaceutical companies will lose money?? How about the pharmaceutical companies that the FDA recently addressed found a few companies making these prescription drugs for certain issues that patients are buying, that actually had NO effective cause for the issue being treated.. The companies have made pills just to make money when in reality the patient is feeding their body something far more harmful. Some drugs out there actually make illnesses worse. Just like you see these FDA approved drugs that get recalled for causing cancers, illnesses, etc.

    • alpinequeen

      If there is already medical pot available by prescription, what do we need medical dispensaries for? So the state can make money. Years ago you could go into a certain store or restaurant in Springfield (there was one on the corner of Mill Street) and “play the numbers” for fifty cents. Now we have the state controlled lottery. What is next? How will the state find more ways to make money off of addictive things? Oh wait, there’s the casino. Will the state provide help for the newly addicted to gambling? Do they care about the lives and families ruined?

  • xxmeganxx98

    Navion? Not that I can think of. I get what your meaning. I guess my view on the conversation is a little more different than yours. My issue has not been the dispensaries or drug deliveries, like i said theres pros and coms for everything and of coarse the delivery is a huge aspect but how is making a comparison between both not valid? I’m speaking in terms of medically and in all aspects for the legalization because just like what you were mentioning before that health wise, you made some statements that there wasn’t any good coming from it health wise which is why I brought up prescription drugs, just like tobacco and alcohol being legal as well. I do know people who can’t for their own personal reasons be around it or find the smell “toxic” or just don’t want anything to do with it. Everyone will always have their opinions on it and ill respect it because at the end of the day, to me, it’s not classifying a human being. It doesn’t make anyone better than someone else whether you agree or not.

    • alpinequeen

      Tobacco bad. Alcohol bad. Illegal drugs bad. Most prescription drugs bad. Monsanto bad. Holding companies bad. Democrats bad. Republicans bad. My former boss bad. I try to avoid things that are bad. As far as the “Navion” thing, you are not the Megan I used to know. Thanks.

  • xxmeganxx98

    No they don’t. The state couldn’t give two craps about the greater good of people. I agree with where you are going there. And I know exactly what you are talking about with the .50 cent bets at certain restaurant, bars, etc. Of coarse the govt only cares about money I agree on that without a doubt. I don’t think that the amount of dispensaries they are shooting to approve is necessary either. I do think patients should have a right to make their own choice though whether it be going to one of these places or getting a prescription for the drug you brought up.

  • loki

    Hey Alpine. Why do you have a problem with the state making more money? Where do you think the unemployment benefits will keep coming from? And there has to be different dispensaries. As my doctor explained to me each patient’s need for medical marijuana are for different reasons. Each dispensary will have different forms of THC that will help said issue. When you get your medical marijuana you must stick with the same dispensary. I am quoting my doctor on this so I have no hard data to back up the facts. Regardless, your argument really has no basis. Quoting that tobacco is just as harmful as pot is absolutely ludicrous. I myself am an asthmatic and have had no issues from being around marijuana smoke. I have however had multiple issues being around cigarette smoke. Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana. Prescription pills are far more dangerous than medical marijuana. You’re out of your element.

    • alpinequeen

      I have a problem with how the state makes more money. I don’t approve of “sin” taxes, lottery, casino, medical and eventually recreational marijuana. They should be trying to keep and get more jobs for the state. They should be trying to get kids to stay in school. They should be trying to get parents to be real parents for their kids. They should be trying to eliminate welfare fraud. But they know what attracts flies and they’re taking the easy road.

  • xxmeganxx98

    Valid point

  • loki

    As I said Alpine, you are out of your element.

    • alpinequeen

      Lonely in your room at night?

  • dens

    Where do I apply for a job?
    I think its a great change in a positive way.