SPRINGFIELD – As soon as the ribbon was cut, the 20 patients who had been waiting for the official opening of INSA – the area’s first medical marijuana dispensary – formed an orderly line up the stairs to the front door.

It was an opportunity these men and women – many who have been traveling to INSA’s other dispensary in Northampton for their medication – had been waiting for since the City Council first approved plans for a medical marijuana dispensary in the neighborhood in November of 2016.

“We’re really excited to open INSA, the first and only medical marijuana dispensary in Hampden County,” INSA CEO Mark Zatyrka told the crowd of employees, local officials, patients and press who gathered for the ceremony at the 506 Cottage St. location on May 25.  “Finally the patients in Springfield no longer have to travel long distances to get the medication they need. The wait is over.”

Referring to Springfield as “my home city,” Zatyrka said he was proud to be able to give back to the city that had given him so much.

“Springfield has always been a city of first, a city of innovations, an  exciting city, and that’s what drew us here, “ he continued, listing the city’s many “firsts including basketball, the Indian Motorcycle and the first American dictionary and commercial radio station. “We want to be a leader in a city that leads by example.”

He went on to thank the city councilors – past and present – the department heads and staff of the city, the Indian Orchard Civic Association, the East Springfield Neighborhood Council, the police and fire departments and Mayor Domenic Sarno for their assistance in helping INSA bring its “plant-based medicine” to local patients.

Sarno praised Zatyrka and INSA for bringing such a  “professional,

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