BOSTON (AP) — Eleven medical marijuana dispensaries have been cleared to move forward in Massachusetts while several others that had received initial clearance were rejected after a further review, state public health officials announced Friday.

The process had been on hold for several months while the state worked to verify information provided in the applications of 20 companies that were initially given provisional clearance for licenses in January.

Karen Van Unen, head of the state’s medical marijuana program, said the 11 remaining dispensaries survived the enhanced investigation process but will still be subjected to final inspections before they can open.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.

Van Unen said the first dispensaries could open by November. She said 97 percent of Massachusetts residents will live within 30 miles of one of the dispensaries.

Under a law approved by voters in November 2012, as many as 35 dispensaries in Massachusetts would be allowed to grow and sell marijuana for patients with certain medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

The 11 applicants cleared to move forward to the inspection phase are in Dennis, Salem, Haverhill, Northampton, Ayer, Newton, Lowell, Quincy, Brookline, Brockton and Milford.

The nine that were rejected include two proposed in Boston, meaning that the state’s largest city does not currently have a dispensary. Others that were not allowed to move forward were located in Worcester, Fairhaven, Holyoke, Plymouth, Mashpee, Taunton and Cambridge.

Three of the rejected facilities were under the umbrella of Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts Inc., a company led by former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt. Officials did not provide reasons for the rejections.

A message seeking comment from Delahunt was not immediately returned.

“This process is designed to ensure only the highest quality applicants advance to meet the patient access and public safety needs of the Commonwealth,” said Van Unen.

Five other applicants who were not part of the 20 selected in January still have an opportunity to apply for licenses in counties that are not currently covered by a dispensary.

Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration has rejected calls, including from some lawmakers, to restart the licensing process from scratch after reports that some applicants may have provided false or misleading information.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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