BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the first 20 medical marijuana dispensary permits to be awarded in the Bay State on Friday.
Of the 20 dispensaries licensed, ten of the state’s four counties were awarded dispensaries. Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes and Nantucket counties were left without dispensaries awarded.
Under the 2012 voter-approved law, at least one dispensary must be awarded to each of the state’s 14 counties. It was not immediately clear when additional licenses would be granted.
Middlesex County received the most, with four dispensaries awarded, one each in Lowell, Ayer, Newton and Cambridge. Boston is the only city in Massachusetts to receive more than one dispensary, with two dispensaries awarded. Also in the Greater Boston area will be dispensaries in Quincy and Brookline.
The North Shore will receive two, one in Salem and the other in Haverhill.
South of Boston, dispensaries were awarded in Fairhaven, Taunton, Plymouth, and Brockton. Two dispensaries were awarded on Cape Cod, one in Mashpee and the other in Dennis.
In Metro West, dispensaries were awarded in Worcester and Milford, and in Western Massachusetts, dispensaries will open in Holyoke and Northhampton.
Six additional dispensary operators were approved, but were not awarded a licence in their proposed location. They have been invited by the Department of Public Health to amend their application and seek a change of location to one of the counties that lacks a dispensary.
There is a limit of five dispensaries per county, and a state-wide cap of 35.
Dispensaries are expected to open later this year. Those approved Friday will be subject to passing a final state inspection and complying with local municipal regulations before they can open.
Meanwhile, a drive is underway to place an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on the November 2016 ballot.
The full list of dispensaries that were approved can be seen here.