Contentions Grow With Mass. Draft Medical Marijuana Regulations

BOSTON — Some advocates for the medical marijuana industry in Massachusetts are concerned out-of-state companies will have an edge in opening marijuana dispensaries here, under the draft regulations (PDF) issued Friday by the Mass. Department of Public Health.

A pair of Newton attorneys, Robert Carp and Stephen Cottens, run the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Dispensers Association. Carp pointed out that under the proposed rules, the health department would take into consideration past experience in medical marijuana services when issuing certifications to new dispensaries — and that bothers him.

“So what you’re saying is if you’re from Colorado, California or somewhere else that has dispensaries, we’re going to give you bonus points. And that is patently unfair to the people who are taking money, putting it into a Massachusetts business, living here and working with patients,” Carp argued.

Cottens agreed. “There should be an opportunity for growth for the residents of your state in this industry,” he said. “It should be an opportunity for everyone that has a solid fiscal plan, good intentions and good ideas.”

Cambridge resident Noah Miklas works in real estate but is interested in opening a medical marijuana dispensary in the Haverhill area. He is concerned about experienced operators from other states dominating the industry here.

“It’s an unfair advantage to the outside competition,” he said, adding that he thinks DPH should have a residency requirement for dispensary owners.

Prospective owners will have to prove they have $500,000 in escrow in order to be approved. Miklas acknowledges the huge barriers to getting a license.

“For the risk there’s a reward, correct? And hopefully it will turn out as a cash bonanza both for the state and for the people who get involved with it,” Miklas said, though he said he knows the businesses will be not-for-profit. “They’ll be able to use that money to build up the communities and really give back some.”

According to Carp, the proposed requirement that dispensaries open within 120 days of approval is unrealistic.

“If you’re talking leasing a facility, finding a facility, setting it up to grow — it can’t happen. It’s going to take you four months just to grow the product, never mind negotiate a lease on land or a building,” he explained.

A half-dozen people paid $500 to take the attorneys’ day-long course in Brookline on Saturday, during which they learned how to apply for a dispensary license.

DPH is currently accepting public comment and will hold hearings next month (PDF) before finalizing the regulations.

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  • HumphreyPloughjogger

    Interesting, a seminar on how to apply for a license when the application process has not been settled. Still C&C grossed $3,000 on the day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jose-Gonzales/100003694111815 Jose Gonzales

    The marijuana business is reserved for the Mafia. There is no room for common business owners in this business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    it would be better if we did it like california where the dispensaries buy the medicine from the patients and the patients who grow, grow the medicine and sell the excess to the dispensaries. this keeps the money in the community and keeps the standards high for the medicine. they should definatly have a residency requirement for dispensary ownership also

    • http://www.facebook.com/weedbay Weedbay Guy

      By requiring dispensaries to provide low cost or free medicine to low income patients the department has effectively limited the number of in home grows, I think this is by design. The California system is rife with problems due to voluntary product safety testing. The only real advantage of the California system is one federal raid doesn’t derail the supply of medicine. The concept of growing medicine for yourself is fine with me. Trying to supply the whole county from your in home grow is problematic imo.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        it is part of the business plan for the large conglomerates to get the law to prevent home growing for their own benefit only. not sure what problems there have been with product testing, reputable dispensaries test their medication and they have independant established standards to certify growers as complying with best practices and/or organic practices. in california there is medicine available to low income patients for reduced or no charge. reguardless of where the dispensaries get their supply from people should be able to produce their own medicine.

        • http://www.facebook.com/weedbay Weedbay Guy

          While there is a culture of distribution for marijuana that’s been around for 50 years or more patients deserve better than how the black market operates. Patients should be allowed to grow for any reason. The problem with California is there’s no state law that allows dispensaries, only cultivation and collect cultivation. Maybe Ammiano’s bill will help settle this glaring problem.

  • thecrud

    Yeah thats the important part local money. Not quickly being up and running.

    • http://www.facebook.com/weedbay Weedbay Guy

      The not for profit mutual benefit corporation requirements in these regulations already assures the benefits will go to the local community. Foot dragging and delaying is inexcusable and not what the voters had in mind when they demanded these regulations be crafted within 120 days of the law going into effect. Just because some lackys feel they need time to catch up and get on the same page is no reason to delay this. There’s patients that need medicine NOW. I say it’s all about the patients.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        let the patients grow so they are not dependant on the state or dispensaries for their medication

  • jamas von Rockmann

    Yes NO outside companies in our state….. cool idea

  • keith ellis

    Legalize all drugs, the strong will not start, the weak will die, end of story.

    • not.patrick.kennedy

      Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2000 and they now have use rates that are 1/10th of ours.

      • dust truck

        should be noted that the use rates are lower in part due to addicts being treated like mental patients instead of criminals.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malcolm-Kyle/100001700224506 Malcolm Kyle

      But what will happen to all you drunks?

    • AnnOnaMice

      Odd statement, since the entire US had legal drugs up until the beginning of the 20th C… you know, when we pretty much stopped being a great nation.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MRJJ5MEAV6AGO4S7MEMJYVQNGA scott

    The Cartels in Mexico are the real winners here suppliers now capitalists are making big cash watch the tax man look the other way ! Other countries let ones grow their own but here one that does that busted 4 manufacturing a controled drug !
    The Feds will have to tax it too now the 50 th state will have a new cash crop !

    • http://www.facebook.com/alan.rosenthal.7568 Alan Rosenthal

      500,000 in escrow to start a facility would knock out 99% of real people who want to start a business!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/weedbay Weedbay Guy

        Proper capitalization has been a concern in many of the medical marijuana states. Some states even have a seasoning aspect where the money must be in escrow for 90 days before the application is submitted, to prevent stuffing and moving money from other accounts to meet the requirement. In some states applicants did not have sufficient capital to implement their business plans and could not open. This is a huge loss for patients relying on local dispensaries to provide their medicine.

  • James Baines

    wow, seems like Mass is trying to turn over the marijuana business to all their rich buddies. The Same thing is happening in Washington State. There trying to change the law where instead of paying just the 1200 a year renewal fee with a 250 application fee you have get a certificate that is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Citizens should demand that everyone has an opportunity to participate. I started my dispensary in WA State 2 years ago for less than 10k. well mmj business owners advertise for free on dispensaryexchange.com and watch your business grow.

  • jeffrey_dach_md

    Cannabis Medical Marijuana, Miracle Drug of the 21st Century

    Although cannabis was a medicinal plant for thousands of years, its medical use was suppressed and banned throughout most of the 20th century. Banned in England, Canada and the US in the 1930′s, medical cannabis represents the first casualty in a war against natural medicine waged by the pharmaceutical industry. While banned in the US, there have been major scientific breakthroughs in Israel, Spain, Italy and Brazil over the last two decades. These breakthroughs have made cannabis ”the wonder drug of the 21st century”. The greatest cannabis researcher is unquestionably Raphael Mechoulam from Israel. He discovered THC in 1964, the psycho-active component of cannabis. Mechoulam also discovered the first endogenous endo-cannabinoid in 1992. There has never been a documented human fatality from marijuana consumption. Unlike opioid narcotics which may cause death from respiratory depression, cannabinoids do not depress the respiratory center. Remarkably, many Grass Roots political movements have recently been victorious in the legalization of medicinal marijuana…

    For More click Here: http://wp.me/P3gFbV-8S

    Jeffrey Dach MD

    • dust truck

      meanwhile, smoking it exposes the patient to many more carcinogens than filtered tobacco products.

      • AnnOnaMice

        On the other hand, there has been no proven correlation between lung cancer or emphysema and regular marijuana smoking…

        …and yes, it’s been studied to death.

  • http://www.baystatecannabis.org/ Bay State Cannabis Co.

    $500K entry fee and extra points if you’re not from MA? These are DRAFT regulations. If you’re in favor of MA resident owned dispensaries let DPH hear what you think about these proposed new rules. Send your emails to Reg.Testimony@state.ma.us with “Medical Marijuana” in the subject.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malcolm-Kyle/100001700224506 Malcolm Kyle

    If you are called for jury duty on a case where there’s a drug violation and no overt act of violence, please do not convict! If it’s not a violent offender, do not send them to prison. Another person in a federal or state prison for drugs is not going to make society any better or our families any safer, in fact, it’s going to do the exact opposite.

    * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict.

    * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention before taking your seat on a jury.

    * You are also not required to give a reason to the other jurors on your position when voting. Simply state that you find the accused not guilty.

    * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. If the Judge and the other jurors disapprove, too bad. There is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion.

    We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for and end the most destructive, dysfunctional, dishonest and racist social policy since Slavery.

    If you wish to replace prohibition with a far more sensible system of legalized regulation, PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT!

  • Scott Gacek

    “A half-dozen people paid $500 to take the attorneys’ day-long course in Brookline on Saturday, during which they learned how to apply for a dispensary license.”

    How can you learn how to apply for a license when the application process, let alone the application itself, has yet to be determined?

  • Guest

    Thats bull…some many people have moved to CA from MA to take part in THEIR MMJ program. Why would anyone want to move from CA or CO to MA? Why??? Maybe the poor soles who left MA in the first place can move home

  • Guest

    people move to ca from mass on the regular to take part in mmj, and it makes it harder for ca locals..why shouldnt it be reciprocal

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      how does it make it harder for the locals?

      • Guest

        market saturation…but im sure many caregivers aren’t ca locals anyway so that wasn’t necessarily a good statement on my part.. this guy just shouldn’t be complaining about people coming in from out of state..and i have nothing against Massachusetts or its people

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          i think its in the public interest to prevent what happened in Maine (one california company getting 4 of the 7 licences for dispensaries) from happening in mass

          • Guest


  • Mark

    sooooo….. you are saying people from mass can move to ca to be in pot industry, but people cant move from ca to mass to do the same??? who care about the advantage, its a good thing, why would you want a bunch of noobs growing medicine when there are experts out there anyway????

  • http://www.facebook.com/weedbay Weedbay Guy

    The more qualified the dispensary owner – ultimately leads to a more effective distribution system for patients and members of the community that have a stake in providing safe access to qualifying patients. After reading the draft regulations I found them to be some of the most comprehensive of any state. The DPH should be proud of their effort.

  • http://www.facebook.com/weedbay Weedbay Guy

    This is why it’s so important that medical marijuana advocates to know what to say when they are interviewed by the media. Everything needs to be positive. It’s apparent that these fellows don’t know what to say. They come across as rookies, and should they be worried about seasoned activists coming in from Co and Ca, you can bet that crowd will eat these guy’s lunch. For reals? It takes time to locate real estate for a dispensary? Maybe that’s why the people that do know what to say started Nov. 2, before the law was even passed.

    • AnnOnaMice

      No one started before the law was passed, especially in getting real estate, because they were afraid of the NIMBY laws that could, and are being enacted.

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