Huffpost Politics

Massachusetts Weed Companies Threaten To Take Legal Action Against State

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The anger over how Massachusetts awarded its first medical weed licenses has reached a new level, with a group of about 20 companies now saying they're considering legal action against the state.

Frustration with the way the Bay State health department granted the highly coveted licenses to dispensaries last month has grown among allegations that some firms exaggerated or outright lied about having support from local politicians.

Other firms were revealed to be run by people with close ties to state officials. Some of the outrage has focused on former state congressman William Delahunt, who is the president of a firm that recently won three of the state's 20 licenses.

Because of limits on the number of dispensaries allowed by law (only 35 are permitted in the first year), licenses to do business are considered lucrative commodities.

The group of rejected applicants contemplating legal action is being organized by attorney Jonathan C. Rutley, who is the head of a medical cannabis firm that was recently denied a license. Rutley told The Boston Globe that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick should start the whole process from scratch.

"If they [the Department of Public Health] had done due diligence, they would have weeded out some of these winners," Rutley told The Huffington Post on Friday.

Massachusetts' medical marijuana law, the result of a ballot initiative that won 63 percent of the vote in November 2012, went into effect Jan. 1. The law allows those with a range of debilitating medical conditions to possess up to 10 ounces of weed at a time.

The state's first legal weed shops are expected to open this summer, and all of them are expected to make home deliveries -- a service that sets them apart from programs in most other states.

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