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Massachusetts: First Medical Marijuana Facility Permit Issued

Alternative Therapies Inc. in Salem is the first dispensary to get this far.

Following the formula of recent medical cannabis laws there have been several major delays in bringing dispensaries to the Bay State.

Voters approved a ballot initiative in 2012. Regulations were then crafted by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Officials had hoped to see the program up and running last year.

There were fifteen dispensaries selected from dozens of applicants. But since then the licencing process has come under intense scrutiny and even a flight of lawsuits. A recent report in the Boston Globe says the process was «off the rails from the start.»

Alternative Therapies must still endure a series of inspections before opening to patients. But they are expected to start growing cannabis very soon. It could mean registered patients from all over the state will be visiting the facility by spring.

Massachusetts has a population of 6.7 million people. Marijuana possession by adults was decriminalized by voters in 2008. Since that time arrests have dropped almost 80% for recreational consumers and underground patients.

Several groups are seeking a full legalization ballot initiative in 2016.