For Immediate Release - June 27, 2014

Department Of Public Health Advances 11 Registered Marijuana Dispensary Applicants to Next Phase of Selection Process

11 applicants will move to inspectional phase for grow-ready, processing-ready and retail-ready reviews

BOSTON — The Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that 11 Registered Marijuana Dispensary applicants will advance to the Inspection Phase of the selection process following the successful completion of the Department’s Verification Phase, which included enhanced background checks and information verification. These 11 applicants would bring 97 percent of the Commonwealth’s population within 30 miles of a Registered Marijuana Dispensary, ensuring patient access across the Commonwealth.

“This process is designed to ensure only the highest quality applicants advance to meet the patient access and public safety needs of the Commonwealth,” said Karen van Unen, executive director of DPH’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program. “Those advancing have passed comprehensive background checks and investigative reviews. Prior to opening, each must comply with all inspection and municipal requirements.”

During the verification process, investigative firm Creative Services, Inc. (CSI) completed 176 enhanced individual and corporate background checks on investors, staff and related companies, and conducted investigative interviews with applicants to verify all information submitted as part of their applications. Additionally, DPH contacted more than 200 individuals to verify applicants’ representation of local support. The Department also closely reviewed each applicant’s business and operational plans, investor lists, source of funds and investments and information resulting from any background checks.

The results of these reviews were used by the executive director to determine which applicants were suitable to advance to the Inspection Phase. Before dispensaries are allowed to open, DPH will conduct inspections on grow-readiness, and processing and retail-readiness to ensure product safety and quality, security, storage and transportation and responsiveness to patient needs. In addition, applicants must complete municipal approval processes, including zoning and permitting before any dispensary is awarded a final Certificate of Registration to open.

Five Applicants Eligible to Apply in Open Counties

The Department has identified five applicants eligible to apply for dispensaries in counties that currently do not have a dispensary (open counties). The application process for eligible applicants seeking to operate in open counties will begin July 9 with the selections scheduled for October of this year.

Massachusetts voters approved the Medical Use of Marijuana ballot initiative in November 2012 with 63 percent of the vote and majority support in 349 of 351 cities and towns. DPH then held listening sessions, engaged stakeholders and passed regulations to promote the program’s goals of patient access and public safety.

The 11 applicants selected today to enter the Inspection Phase have previously completed Phase 1, which included an application review; Phase 2, which included initial background checks, an independent expert review, screening by the Selection Committee, and executive director review; and the Verification Phase, which included enhanced individual and corporate background checks, application information verification, business and operational plan review, and funding and investment source review.

View a slide presentation outlining the comprehensive selection process and the list of dispensaries advancing: www.mass.gov/medicalmarijuana.

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