For Immediate Release - August 02, 2013

Department of Public Health Releases Applications for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that Phase 1 application forms for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries are now available on COMMBUYS at

“The Department has created a solid regulatory framework for this new industry, and now we are ready to move forward with the competitive application process,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “We are committed to a fully transparent process that respects patient needs, while ensuring safe communities.”

The voter-approved law allows DPH to register up to 35 non-profit Registered Marijuana Dispensaries across the state, with at least one but no more than five dispensaries per county.

Completed applications for Phase 1 must be hand-delivered on Thursday, Aug. 22, to the Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street in Boston. After the deadline has passed, DPH will post the list of applicants and proposed dispensary locations online at

Applications will be reviewed in two phases. Under Phase 1, dispensary applicants will be reviewed for financial viability and background checks will be conducted. Applicants must report whether any member of their proposed organization has been subject to a felony drug conviction.

Applicants who meet the qualifications in Phase 1 will be eligible to proceed to Phase 2 this fall where a selection committee will conduct an in-depth review and select dispensaries through a competitive process. The committee will evaluate and score Phase 2 applications based on such factors as appropriateness of the site, geographical distribution of dispensaries, local support, and the applicant’s ability to meet the overall health needs of registered patients, while ensuring public safety.

Prospective marijuana dispensaries will be required to pay a $1,500 fee for submission and consideration of the Phase 1 application, and $30,000 if they qualify for Phase 2, both of which are non-refundable. Dispensaries that are selected will be required to pay a $50,000 annual fee for a Certificate of Registration. There will also be a $500 annual registration fee for each dispensary agent.

“The application and patient registration fees that DPH has put into place are in line with other states and will be affordable to patients,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “At the same time, dispensaries will be required to pay their fair share to support this program, so we do not rely on taxpayer resources.”

DPH will use the fees to meet the program’s operational needs, including hiring staff and training inspectors to monitor the industry. DPH will also develop an online system for registering and auditing for participant eligibility. The voter-approved law is required to be revenue neutral, and fees are established at levels to cover all estimated operating costs.

Once DPH’s registration system is operable, qualifying patients will pay a $50 annual registration fee, though patients demonstrating a verified financial hardship may request a waiver. Caregivers will not pay a fee.

The fee structure was set following a robust public hearing and comment period. Throughout this process, DPH has been praised for setting a national standard in the development of its regulations. The Department has incorporated significant input from stakeholders, patient advocates and industry representatives, and will continue this transparent process as the law is implemented.

Instruction on How to Access the Application Form

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link for “Search for a Solicitation.”
  3. Enter “401620 NOA 1” in the Document Number box.
  4. A link will appear at the top of the page, saying “There are 1 Solicitation(s) found that match your search criteria.”
  5. Click on that link and a page will appear with the document name, number and a “view” icon (eye glasses).
  6. Click on the eye glasses and the summary screen will appear.

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