Applicants who meet the qualifications in Phase 1 will be eligible to proceed to Phase 2 this fall where a selection committee will conduct an in-depth review and select dispensaries through a competitive process. The committee will evaluate and score Phase 2 applications based on such factors as appropriateness of the site, geographical distribution of dispensaries, local support and the applicant’s ability to meet the overall health needs of registered patients, while ensuring public safety.
The voter-approved law allows DPH to register up to 35 nonprofit dispensaries across the state, with at least one but no more than five dispensaries per county. DPH anticipates that the Phase 1 review will be completed by mid-September. At that time, the list of applicants that make it to Phase 2 will become available to the public.
The second phase of the process is lengthy, Edwards said.
“All these groups are putting together business plans that include cultivation, security and other details of their operations,” he said. “The applications will be hundreds of pages and highly detailed. Sites will be divulged complete with architectural drawings. There’s quite a bit of work to do.”
Edwards said his team has already started the work in anticipation of the state’s announcement of Phase 2 applicants.
“We’ve been working on the content for quite some time,” he said. “There’s been a lot of legwork going on for a while.”
Prospective marijuana dispensaries were required to pay a $1,500 fee for submission and consideration of the Phase 1 application. A $30,000 fee will then be required if they qualify for Phase 2 of the review. Both fees are non-refundable. Dispensaries that are selected for licenses must pay a $50,000 annual fee for a certificate of registration. There will also be a $500 annual registration fee for each dispensary agent.
One wrinkle faced by Edwards and his team, which includes former state Rep. David Torrisi, is that Andover may vote on a moratorium on medical dispensaries.