Massachusetts Names Director Of New Medical Marijuana Program

MASSACHUSETTS:  A long-time health administrator was named Monday as executive director of the state’s nascent medical marijuana program, an appointment that comes with ultimate authority to decide which companies are granted licenses to open dispensaries where the drug will be sold.

Karen van Unen had served as a consultant to Massachusetts officials during the launch of the program and has been a chief operating officer and program director at a number of non-profit organizations in Boston. She will oversee “all aspects of the medical marijuana program,” according to a statement from the Department of Public Health.

In addition to selecting which of the 100 applicants will win one of the 35 coveted dispensary licenses later this month, van Unen will have oversight over inspection of dispensaries, and the creation of a database listing people authorized to get medical marijuana, which is expected to be running later this year, the department said.