MA health officials unveil new marijuana dispensary rules

The Department of Public Health is unveiling changes to the way it issues licenses under the state's medical marijuana dispensary program.

The changes outlined Friday include a revamped application process that allows marijuana dispensaries to be approved similar to how other health care facilities, such as pharmacies, are licensed.

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said the changes to the licensing procedures are critical to get the program up and running.

"This change creates a more streamlined, efficient and transparent process that allows the commonwealth to maintain the highest standards of both public safety and accessibility," Bharel said in a written statement.

Under the new process, dispensaries will be evaluated individually, not as part of a group. They must show local support, or a lack of opposition, before being approved. Fees will stay the same.

Applications will be accepted beginning June 29.

Any existing certifications and decisions made last year remain...

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