NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Only 11 medical marijuana dispensaries will move forward in the state licensing process. Of two applicants in western Massachusetts, one got the go-ahead, and one did not.
In Hampshire County, a nonprofit called New England Treatment Access will advance to the next phase. If they’re successful, as of right now, they’ll be the only medical marijuana facility built in western Massachusetts.
Nearly 200 nonprofits applied. 20 earned initial approval. Now, only 11 will advance to the next phase. Nine of those applicants have proposed sites in the eastern part of the state. One in central Mass. And one here in western Massachusetts.
New England Treatment Access has plans to turn this building near downtown Northampton into a medical marijuana dispensary. The group found out Friday, it passed an extensive background check and is now one step closer to a license.
The group’s Executive Director Kevin Fisher runs a marijuana business in Colorado as well. He told 22News if all goes well with the city and the state, the Northampton dispensary could open November 1st.
“We are just in the typical building permit and those type of inspection, so as long as we build everything in a safe manner, we’ll be approved, we assume, at the local level,” he said.
And in Hampden, Franklin and Berkshire Counties, DPH asked a few qualifying groups to consider locations in those areas.
Travis Albano of Sunderland told 22News, “I think that we should have more than one in western Massachusetts. It’s all about access for people. I know it’s been more than a year, so they should push through legislation and make it happen.”
Thomas Henderson of Hatfield said, “It depends on what the needs of the communities are. You know, it’s kind of hard to have one here and make everybody travel long distances to get the services. They should have services readily available for everybody.”
State law allows up to 35 dispensaries to be built in the state. Click Here to see all the dispensary applications.
In Hampden County, Herbie Flores from the New England Farm Workers Council and former State Senator Brian Lees wanted to build a dispensary on Appleton Street Holyoke. However, the state Department of Public Health put a stop to that plan. DPH did not clear the Appleton St. proposal.
Flores’ attorney William Bennett called the decision “unfair and improper.” He said a state audit on Flores’ other nonprofits unfairly knocked this application out of the process.