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State unveils fees for medical marijuana dispensaries

Dispensaries granted a license to sell marijuana for medical use in Massachusetts will be required to pay an $50,000 annual fee under proposed regulations unveiled Friday by the state Department of Public Health.

The regulations, which also include a $50 annual registration fee for patientsto use marijuana, is intended to create a “fee structure for a self-financed medical marijuana industry that supports patient access without relying on taxpayer resources,” according to the state.

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Patients with a “verified financial hardship” would be allowed to request a waiver of the registration fee, subject to review and approval by the state health department.

Massachusetts voters approved a referendum last fall legalizing marijuana for medical use, and state regulators finalized rules earlier this month to implement the law. Those rules went into effect Friday.

“The proposed patient registration fees are in line with other states and will be affordable,” acting state health commissioner Cheryl Bartlett said in a statement. “At the same time, dispensaries will be required to pay their fair share.”

The department said it will use the fees to hire staff and train inspectors to monitor the industry

Under the draft fee regulations, registered marijuana dispensaries would pay a $1,500 fee for the first phase of an application and $30,000 for the second phase, both non-refundable. Dispensaries would also be required to pay an annual $500 registration fee for each of their employees.

The state has scheduled a public hearing on the draft fee regulations for Friday, June 14 at 1 p.m. at the Department of Public Health offices at 250 Washington St. in Boston.

Kay Lazar can be reached at klazar@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.
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