NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Eleven out of 200 non-profit applicants cleared several hurdles so far in the medical marijuana licensing process; however, two of those 11, including a Hampshire County proposal, may not go any further.
Governor Deval Patrick announced on Thursday New England Treatment Access’ medical marijuana dispensary applications have been put on hold. He said, “That application has been put on hold, and we are trying to find out if it in fact was a lie.”
The company had plans to build in Brookline and in Northampton, but the state suspects the company’s Executive Director, Kevin Fisher, may have lied about receiving a Bachelor’s degree.
22News spoke with Fisher on the phone about six weeks ago when the state advanced his Northampton proposal to the next stage. Back then, he was hoping to turn the vacant building at 118 Conz Street into a medical marijuana dispensary by November 1st.
If the state proves he did lie, Fisher’s bid in Massachusetts could end. The state Office of Health and Human Services said in a statement, “If someone lied on their application, they will not get a license.”
Lenn Fleicher told 22News, “If the person is lying about that, what else might he be fabricating, so I think it should be checked in to what the nature of the fabrication is.”
Meantime Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties are currently without any applicants. The state Department of Public Health has asked qualifying groups to consider locations in those areas.
Matt Jarosz of Northampton said, “Colorado just legalized it. Crime’s gone down and the profits for the state went up. I think it’s a good thing. It’ll help the local economy.”
The investigation is pending. Fisher did not have any comments about the state’s decision.
Below is a statement from Alec Loftus of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services regarding the Northampton dispensary controversy:
“Our goal is ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality dispensaries. As the Governor has said, if someone lied on their application they will not get a license. New England Treatment Access’s application is on hold until they are able to suitably address this issue.
“No licenses have been granted. The Department’s licensing process is thorough, and DPH is currently in the phase of the process involving a comprehensive review of operations before any dispensary can open its doors. Background checks on dispensaries remain part of our ongoing oversight, and if further information is uncovered that impacts an applicant’s ability to provide high-quality patient access, the program will take action. The background checks are ongoing because the individuals making up an applicant’s proposed staff may change, and new additions require that new background checks be opened.
“The program has full discretion to review any issues and determine whether or not they impact an applicant’s suitability to serve qualifying patients.”