Want to own a medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts? Get in line and bring your checkbook.
Officials with the state public health department announced that more than 100 people applied to be one of 35 licensed dispensaries allowed under state law. The deadline for applications was yesterday at 3 p.m.
“We are glad that it was a highly competitive process and it will ensure patients’ access to the medical use of marijuana in the Commonwealth,” the state health department chief told the Associated Press.
Massachusetts law calls for dispensaries in each of the 14 counties in the state and will allow for up to five dispensaries to operate within a county’s boundaries. The first round of application required applicants to submit to a background check as well as pay a $1,500 fee and prove that they have $500,000 in funds to get the dispensaries off the ground.
The selection will move into the second round by mid-September. That round includes background and financial checks. Pass that, and you’ll be asked to put in your final application along with a non-refundable payment of $30,000. And that doesn’t even assure you a dispensary. In fact, the state could potentially pull in about $1.95 million off of the 65 or so shops that won’t be licensed when all is said and done.
Get selected to be a dispensary, and you’re looking at an annual registration of $50,000. That’s about $1.75 million annually to the state for all licenses to sell medical cannabis.
Despite the high fees and high risks involved with starting a federally illegal medical cannabis dispensary, the idea has attracted numerous newbies including former state senators from Western Mass.
”I became so intrigued with the whole idea and started researching it more and more, and realized there were so many wonderful opportunities and so many patients that had been helped by medical marijuana,” Catherine Cametti, a real estate with no real experience in cannabis tells the AP. Cametti says that she’s got a number of financiers lined up and that her shop would employ about 20 people when open.