Massachusetts' First Weed Dispensary Set to Finally Open

Politics
Massachusetts First Weed Dispensary to Open Soon

Bostonians, rejoice! After years of delays, Massachusetts’ first weed dispensary could be opening soon.

Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker issued a first-of-its-kind temporary waiver in order to allow the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary the ability to actually sell cannabis. (A novel idea, I know.) Specifically, this new one-time waiver applies to Alternative Therapy Group of Salem (ATG).

Under the cannabis regulations created by Massachusetts, samples of medical marijuana sold through dispensaries must be tested by state-approved labs for cannabinoids, solvents, micro-toxins, and other microbiological contaminants along with heavy metals and pesticides.

ATG is ready to go and has been for some time. The problem is the state has no labs that are able to test for all of the 18 mandated pesticides. The new waiver would bridge this gap and allow ATG to start selling medical marijuana with a special label that discloses to the consumer that certain chemicals were not tested for.

Way back in 2012, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure allowing for licensing of up to 35 dispensaries to sell medical marijuana. Since then, implementation of the new law has sputtered, and not a single dispensary has opened.

“Patients have waited to access marijuana for medical purposes for far too long,” Gov. Baker said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “This waiver will allow industry laboratories a little more time to reach full operation while providing safe amounts of medical marijuana for qualifying patients who need it.”

All of these delays could soon be over. According to its website, ATG said it expects to open to the public in early summer, initially by appointment only.

“ATG intends to offer a safe, enjoyable experience for our patients,” the company said on its website. “Our pricing structure is aimed at providing medical-grade cannabis, grown with organic methods in a safe environment at the lowest price.”

Alternative Therapies Group said it would offer a variety of strains of marijuana grown with organic methods, initially in bud form only. Over time, the company hopes to expand its product line “to include more strains and MIPs (Marijuana Infused Products), such as tinctures, baked goods, topical creams, salves and vaporizer pens.”

The company also said it is not selling seeds or plants.

The new waiver is only good for three months, and ATG may only dispense a maximum of 4.23 ounces of cannabis to any qualifying patient for their 60-day supply with strict instructions to consume more than 2 grams per day.