Lack Of Cannabis Testing Standards Leads To Compliance Issues in Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS:  The cannabis industry could reach $35 billion by 2020, according to GreenWave Advisors, if all 50 states legalize marijuana and the federal government ends prohibition. In a less optimistic scenario, the research group still expects revenue to reach about $21 billion assuming 12 states legalize recreational marijuana and 37 legalize medical marijuana. Despite the industry’s enormous size and growth, the legal framework for the industry is patchy and disjointed.

The regulatory framework from assorted states and what they require for cannabis testing varies enormously, with some requirements having been set by scientists and others determined by politicians and regulators with no scientific training.

As an example, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health stipulates that lead levels in cannabis flowers can be no greater than 212 parts per billion, which is so strict that growers will not be able to meet them, essentially eliminating the sale of budding flowers (the part that is smokable) in the state. By contrast, Colorado’s law allows up to 10,000 parts per billion and is considered to be safe, while Nevada comes in at 1,200 ppb as the legal limit. One of the strangest aspects is that while Massachusetts has a stricter standard for lead, they are more lenient than Nevada with respect to arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program Faces Deficit Over $1 Million

MASSACHUSETTS:  The state’s medical marijuana program is projected to run a $1.17 million deficit in fiscal year 2015 despite a state law requiring the program to pay for itself, according to the program’s annual report.

Nichole Snow, deputy director of Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, a medical marijuana patient advocacy group, said the deficit “shows that the people who were in charge originally really didn’t put enough thought into it.”

Scott Zoback, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said, “The administration is in the process of revamping a poorly functioning medical marijuana program it inherited in order to best serve patients safely and ensure the system is living up to the law passed by Massachusetts voters.”

Massachusetts Has Banked Over $3M In Dispensary Fees & Not A Single Marijuana Seed Has Been Planted

MASSACHUSETTS:  It was almost an entire month ago that medical marijuana advocates crammed underneath the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House to outline a number of problems the state is perpetuating with the licensing process. Years after the herbal treatment was approved by Bay State voters, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has yet to allow dispensaries to put seeds in the ground, but they’ve been happy to collect the application fees in the process.

To date, MassDPH has banked $3,271,500 in application fees from prospective dispensaries. Consider that 181 applicants paid out $1,500 apiece. When that number was trimmed down to 100, they subsequently paid out $30,000 each in order to move on. Just 11 dispensaries stand to open their doors at this point.

The fees are nonrefundable for the hopefuls that didn’t make the cut.

But that’s not all. Dispensaries that are approved for licensure will have to pony up annual fees of $50,000 for registration, $500 for dispensary agent registration and another $50 for patient registration. And then there’s an architectural review of the premises that will cost at least $1,500.


Denied Massachusetts Pot Shops Weigh Options

MASSACHUSETTS:  State health officials could find themselves deeper in the legal weeds after several of the nine proposed medical pot shops that were snuffed out yesterday after a round of “enhanced” background checks said they’re mulling potential lawsuits, including the lone pair of Boston hopefuls and a group led by former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt.

Just 11 of the 20 applicants who earned initial approval earlier this year from the Department of Public Health made the cut for “provisional certificates,” allowing them to set up operations ahead of a final round of inspections.

But those who were rejected responded with a mixture of disappointment and defiance, and several didn’t close the door on court appeals against DPH, which has hired a “boutique” law firm to defend itself amid criticisms of how it’s vetted applicants. The state currently faces 10 pending suits brought by rejected dispensaries. In three instances where the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, a judge denied the request, state officials said.

Delahunt yesterday said he was “perplexed” by DPH’s decisions to deny his proposed dispensaries in Plymouth, Mashpee and Taunton.


Mass. Releases List Of Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

MASSACHUSETTS: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has released a county-by-county breakdown of the 100 final applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Middlesex County leads the way with 17 dispensary applications submitted by 16 companies. Five companies are competing to open dispensaries in Framingham. One of them, Massachusetts Compassionate Patient Care Corp., applied to open a second dispensary in Ayer. Four medical marijuana centers are proposed for Lowell. One company, The Greeneway Wellness Foundation, Inc., applied to open a dispensary in Cambridge.

Worcester County has the second-highest number of dispensaries proposed, at 14: nine applications for dispensaries in the city of Worcester itself; two in Shrewsbury; and one each in Fitchburg, Leominster and Milford. [Read more…]

‘Picture A Wellness Center,’ Envisions Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applicant

MASSACHUSETTS: Anyone who wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the state has to submit the first phase of the application to the Department of Public Health on Thursday. DPH hopes to start issuing the first dispensary licenses by the end of the year. [Read more…]