Officials distribute first round of medical marijuana licenses - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Mass. officials distribute first round of medical marijuana licenses

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) - State public health officials revealed the locations that were approved for medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts Friday.

>> CLICK HERE TO READ THE LIST <<

The list includes 20 applicants in 10 counties. Middlesex County had the most applicants, with four applicants receiving approval.

Four counties, Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes, and Nantucket, were left off the list.

A law approved by voters in November 2012 allows marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

The law permits up to 35 outlets in the state. It was not immediately clear when additional licenses would be granted.

"Eight highly qualified applicants who were not granted their proposed location will be invited to seek a change of location to a county without provisional approval for a Registered Marijuana Dispensary," the state Health Department said in a statement. "This phase will allow the Selection Committee to review high-scoring applicants who wish to seek a change of location to an underserved county to maximize patient access."

Karen Van Unen, executive director of the Medical Use of Marijuana program at the Department of Health, said that the selection process was a multi-layered review process that included independent expert reviews and scoring, as well as background checks. A selection committee then reviewed all of the scored applications before Van Unen approved them for licenses.

The question of how fair the process was came up, because one of the companies, Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts, was granted three licenses. The CEO of that company happens to be former Democratic Congressman William Delahunt.

Delahunt was given campaign money from Cheryl Bartlett, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health, who appointed Van Unen. FOX 25 asked Van Unen if Delahunt's company was given preferential treatment.

Van Unen said, "You should look at the scores. Again, I think, not I think, I know the Selection Committee really felt very strongly that those applications, all 28, including the ones that you are referring to are the ones that are most likely to provide the right service to the community."

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