The latest tally: 181 individuals or groups have applied to the state department of public health to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts. The state will ultimately grant 35 licenses, reports WBUR's Lynn Jolicoeur:
DPH will announce next month which applicants can move on to the final phase of the application. That process will be much more rigorous and will include identifying a community where the planned dispensary location fits in with local zoning rules.
DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett acknowledged that it might be difficult to open a dispensary in a town or city that has instituted a one-year moratorium. The moratoriums are allowed by law for communities to finalize zoning restrictions for dispensaries. But DPH plans to approve up to 35 dispensaries by January and wants to see them open within four to six months of then.
Jolicoeur talked to one applicant who said he wants to debunk some of the stoner stereotypes with his pot shop:
John Greene hopes his experience as an herbalist will help him get approved to operate up to three dispensaries in Plymouth County. He says he wants to focus on providing strains of marijuana that have low levels of “euphoric” or “psychoactive” properties that contribute to the “stoner ethos” many people still attribute to anything involving marijuana.
“Really it’s not just about opening up this medical marijuana business,” Greene said. “It’s about community support and it’s really about educating people about the benefits of this herb and the misconceptions that go along with it.”
And on the recreational marijuana side, don't miss this Steve Almond exclusive on Cognoscenti, in which Steve (who apparently inhaled, and still does) argues that pot is safer than alcohol.
This program aired on August 23, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.