Deadline Looms for Massachusetts MMJ Applicants

Massachusetts public health officials will know by Thursday just how many potential medical marijuana business owners will be in the final running for the state’s 35 dispensary spots.

State regulators recently pared down the pool to 158 applicants, and those parties must turn in their second round of applications by 3 p.m. tomorrow in Boston.

As of Monday, regulators did not know how many applicants had taken that step.

During the second phase of the application process, committees will evaluate each applicant based on their ability to meet the health needs of registered patients, the appropriateness of the proposed business site, support from local communities and public safety plans.

Applicants also have to prove they have $500,000 in the bank and pay a non-refundable fee of $30,000.

Officials hope to announce the finalists by January.

Massachusetts voted to legalize medical marijuana in November 2012, and since then the state has embarked on a lengthy and thorough process of weeding out prospective business owners. Nearly two dozen applicants were eliminated during the first round of the application process.

Those approved for business licenses will have to pay $50,000 in annual fees.