MA: More Marijuana Business Applicants Fast Tracked, Some Patients Concerned

Photo Credit: David L. Ryan

The Cannabis Control Commission has approved another batch of applicants for marijuana business licenses to be fast tracked, but some medical marijuana patients are concerned about their supply.

On Wednesday, the commission approved 35 more applicants for priority status, raising the total to 55. Of those, six are in the economic empowerment program which is for people who say they were disproportionately hurt by the War on Drugs. 29 of the applicants have licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

“I do think it’s a nice healthy number. We are very pleased at the amount of interest,” said Chairman Steve Hoffman.

But at Wednesday’s meeting during the vote, the public saw only numbers, not the names of those who applied.

The executive director and commission chair said they wanted to inform the applicants they were approved before seeing it on Twitter or in the media.

“We are trying to find the right balance between being courteous and respectful to the applicants and recognizing the need to be transparent and provide the information to the public,” Hoffman said.

The list of the latest applicants to be fast tracked was posted online just before 4 p.m.

Some of those who had been given approval to open a dispensary never did, and that’s upsetting for patients who say they want to make sure their supply is protected.

“It’s definitely concerning as a patient that a med dispensary that never opened would get priority status,” said patient Jeremiah MacKinnon.

“If they do not commit to a timeline to open for patients, they should go back into the general application pool,” said Nichole Snow of the Mass Patient Advocacy Alliance.

Hoffman says the commission is enforcing what their attorney says was written in the law.

“We’ve created a strong set of regulations, but I always want people to understand as the industry evolves and grows, as we need to make changes we will,” Hoffman said.