Another state is gearing up to provide thousands of patients in need with a healing medicine which has been vilified for years. Recently, Massachusetts announced they granted their first 20 licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries, slated to open between now and summertime.
The 20 dispensaries will be spread across 10 of the state’s 14 counties. Though they received some 100 applications, only a fraction were approved. The state’s medical marijuana law, passed in 2012, allows for 35 licensed dispensaries across the state. The Department of Health didn’t comment on why more than 20 were approved in this first round. However, their website said eight of those rejected were invited to reapply with a different proposed location.
The department said it granted the licensed based on several factors including local support, the appropriateness of the proposed location, and the applicant’s “ability to meet the needs of patients while ensuring public safety.”
Massachusetts is one of 20 states with medical marijuana laws in place. Not all of these states have their systems up and running, however. Recently, Connecticut announced patients there would finally be able to buy their medicine by summer 2014, while citizens in Illinois, able to use marijuana if able to bypass restrictions, are currently required to give up their second amendment right to bear arms.
Three of the 20 approved licenses went to a former US congressman, Rep. William D. Delahunt (D-Cape Cod), who petitioned for three licenses in Mashpee, Taunton, and Plymouth. A lobbyist and chief executive of Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts, some are concerned the former lawmaker received preferential treatment.
Apparently, Delahunt has a friendship with Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, the person responsible for awarding the dispensary licenses. Last month, the Republican Party asked the governor to appoint an independent commission to approve the licenses for this reason, but the governor declined, despite the coziness creating “the appearance of a rigged system designed to favor the politically connected at the expense of the critically ill.”
In regards to his good fortune, Delahunt said it is his understanding that Bartlett “recused herself from the process.”
Regardless, the move to get medicinal marijuana into the hands of patients who need it is a positive one. There is a long list of medical conditions that marijuana has been proven to help with, conditions that are otherwise treated with Big Pharma solutions that tend to make things worse before they get better.