In November 2012, Massachusetts voters passed a statewide medical marijuana law by a wide margin, an achievement that understandably went somewhat under reported nationally on the same historic night that Colorado and Washington state both legalized the herb outright. Unfortunately, nearly a year-and-a-half later, in Boston, the first state licensed dispensary has yet to open, and if Mayor Martin J. Walsh gets his way, it never will.
According to the Boston Globe, Walsh is “dead set against marijuana dispensaries, has long opposed medical marijuana laws, and would prevent stores in Boston that sell cannabis.” To that end, he recently wrote to state officials in an attempt to stop the opening of two dispensaries, Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals, and Good Chemistry of Massachusetts, with applications currently pending in his city.
“I am writing to express my serious concern regarding the two registered marijuana dispensary applicants in the city of Boston,’’Walsh wrote to John Polanowicz, the state’s secretary of health and human services, and Karen Van Unen, executive director of the state’s medical marijuana program. “If any information provided in either application is confirmed to be inaccurate, I ask that the Department of Public Health immediately eliminate that application from being eligible for a final certification of registration.”
Given Mayor Walsh's long record of opposing medical marijuana, it's not hard to read between the lines of his plea for bureaucratic diligence in checking through the applications. According to local experts, while the mayor may not be able to overturn the state's medical marijuana law, he can certainly drag his feet on implementation.
Meanwhile, the State Department of Health has just been sued over alleged inconsistencies in how it scored the applications of those seeking medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Massachusetts. After having their application denied last January, Prospect Lake Inc has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and its commissioner, Cheryl Bartlett.
“We feel that virtually identical sections that were almost verbatim copies between groups were scored completely differently,” Prospect Lake CEO Michael Marino said. “So we don’t understand that. We call it disparate scoring.”