Health & wellness

Popular spots for medical marijuana dispensary

Worcester trumps Boston for the most popular place in Massachusetts to open a medical marijuana dispensary, according to a list released Friday by state regulators of the 100 applicants vying for a license.

Nine nonprofit companies chose Worcester, while six selected Boston. Framingham and Lowell tied for third most desirable, with five applicants apiece.

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Yet Cambridge, a city known for liberal lifestyles, attracted just one applicant.

Only a maximum of 35 permits will be awarded in this cycle -- the first after voters approved a ballot initiative last fall that legalized use of marijuana for medical treatment. State officials are aiming to select the winners by the end of January.

Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said she was not surprised Boston came in second, given how expensive it is to open a business in the city.

“We are glad there are applicants that have moved forward in Boston because we support the idea that we should have a dispensary in the city,” she said. “We are going to have a lot of patients who need this service, and we want to make sure it is well run.”

The commission on Thursday approved rules that authorize the city to conduct three, surprise compliance checks on dispensaries each year, and require dispensaries to offer home delivery of products.

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The rules also require dispensaries to post the commission’s phone number for customers to call if they are unhappy with how a dispensary is operating.

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