State sued by failed contenders for WMass medical marijuana dispensary licenses – The Republican – masslive.com
BOSTON – With the future of medical marijuana dispensaries in Western Massachusetts still uncertain, two unsuccessful license applicants say the state should give them another look. They are turning to the courts to make their case.
Kind Medical, which wants to open a dispensary in Easthampton, and JM Farm’s Patient Group, which wants to open a dispensary in Deerfield, are among the plaintiffs in two separate court cases against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Both dispensaries say the state denied their licenses for no reason, after they met every condition DPH set.
“The fact there are no dispensaries set up in Western Massachusetts is beyond belief,” said Nick Spagnola, chief operating officer of JM Farm’s Patient Group. “It’s just not right, especially when there are very qualified groups out there who did everything right, listened to DPH recommendations, who genuinely expected to have a license based on what DPH asked them to do.”
Scott Zoback, a DPH spokesman, said in a written statement, “We are pleased that multiple courts have validated our comprehensive process to ensure patient access and public safety across the Commonwealth. We are focused on moving forward with our inspection phase and the open county process to fulfill the will of voters.”
In a court brief, DPH officials say they had a valid reason, relating to background checks, not to license the JM Farm’s dispensary.
Both cases are in Suffolk County Superior Court.
The medical marijuana law passed by voters in 2012 requires the state to establish at least one dispensary in each county. DPH, on Jan. 31, approved 20 dispensaries for provisional licenses, including dispensaries in Hampden and Hampshire counties. It initiated a process to allow eight applicants to reapply in counties without a dispensary, including Franklin and Berkshire.