04/04/2013 06:33 pm ET

Massachusetts Marijuana Dispensaries May Need $500,000 In Escrow To Operate

Proposed rules drawn up recently by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health would impose harsh requirements for the state's first medical marijuana dispensaries.

The draft rules, released March 29, would require pot shops to have $500,000 in escrow before they can receive a license to operate, the Boston Herald reports. Factoring in the routine costs of starting and running a business, the Medical Marijuana Business Daily (MMBD) estimates that the state's first dispensaries would need around $1 million to set up shop.

What's more, under the recommended rules, dispensaries would have to function as non-profits, grow their own pot and prove they can be operational within 120 days of getting a license, MMBD reports. Because it takes several months to cultivate marijuana, those stipulations could be prohibitive for many businesses.

"Those small mom-and-pop shops that wanted to open a clinic for suffering people, they don’t stand a chance,” med­ical marijuana critic Heidi Heilman told the Herald.

But there may be some good news for people seeking treatment. The draft regulations give doctors freedom to decide which patients need medical marijuana, and allow those with a doctor's recommendation to possess up to 10 ounces of pot every two months, according to The Boston Globe. In certain circumstances, people could possess more than that and could even grow their own, the Associated Press reports.

The regulations aren't final, however. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is accepting feedback on its website until April 20 and in public hearings later this month.

Meanwhile, national support for marijuana legalization seems to be surging. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday showed for the first time in over 40 years that a majority of Americans want pot legalized.



Legal Marijuana Across The U.S.