State’s fifth medical marijuana dispensary opening in Lowell
By State House News Service | February 15, 2016, 9:50 EST
STATE HOUSE — As the medical marijuana industry in Massachusetts continues to grow, the state’s fifth registered dispensary plans to open for sales this week in Lowell.
The first of Patriot Care’s three Bay State dispensaries will open at 70 Industrial Ave. East, with additional facilities planned to open later this year in Greenfield and downtown Boston.
“Our goal is to offer patients the broadest array possible, in an environment that they find comfortable, and we’re eager to begin providing people with relief that they look for, more natural relief from their suffering and pain that they may have with different conditions,” Patriot Care CEO Bob Mayerson said.
Patriot Care planned to be ready for business on Monday, with an official ribbon-cutting slated for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Mayerson said on Friday.
The Lowell facility will join existing dispensaries in Salem, Ayer, Brockton and Northampton. In 2012, Massachusetts voters legalized medical marijuana by approving a ballot question.
Patients and caregivers who register with the state are able to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana, with the certification of a physician.
Located in an industrial neighborhood off the Lowell Connector highway, Patriot Care’s new dispensary will be open seven days a week with no appointment required.
“A lot of patients who would come in, this might be their first time experiencing our product or anything — not just our product, but marijuana in any way, so we want people to feel as comfortable as possible,” Mayerson said.
There were more than 19,000 medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts as of the end of January, with 132 physicians registered with the program, according to Department of Public Health data.
Since the program began in October 2014, a total of 17,900 ounces of marijuana has been sold for medical use, through 139,283 dispensary transactions.
In January, dispensaries sold 3,821 ounces of marijuana over 36,249 transactions, and more than 1,500 new patients received certification and registered with the DPH.
The number of active patients, ounces of marijuana sold and number of dispensary transactions have all largely trended upward. December 2015 marked a peak of 4,503 ounces and 37,764 transactions before a slight dip last month.
Hundreds of new patients have become active with the program each month, with an average of around 2,238 ounces sold and 17,410 transactions monthly since the first dispensary began selling marijuana in June 2015.
Mayerson said he does not yet have a sense of what demand will look like at the Lowell facility.
“I know what I’ve heard about the other dispensaries, and I think people have been driving long distances to be able to get to the other dispensaries,” he said. “There’s almost 20,000 patients registered with cards right now in Massachusetts, and there’s only four or five dispensaries open.”
At the end of January, a total of 14 dispensaries were listed by DPH as in the inspection phase. Patriot Care plans to open its next two dispensaries in late spring or early summer, with Boston coming before Greenfield, Mayerson said.
The Lowell dispensary plans to amp up its offerings over time, Mayerson said, increasing the number of strains it carries, adding infused products like tinctures and extracts and carrying marijuana edibles “hopefully by mid- to late March.”
“Not everybody can tolerate the same delivery methods,” Mayerson said. “Somebody with lung cancer may or may not want to smoke it; they may want to eat it. We try to have the full range.”
— Written by Katie Lannan
Copyright State House News Service