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Judge rejects medical marijuana licensing injunction

A Suffolk Superior Court judge declined Thursday to halt the latest phase of the state’s controversial licensing process for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Good Chemistry of Massachusetts, rejected by regulators in June for allegedly misrepresenting support from local leaders in Boston and Worcester, had sought a preliminary injunction preventing the state from accepting applications next week from four other companies. The companies had been invited to apply for licenses in seven counties where dispensary licenses have yet to be awarded.

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But Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Billings said the state’s actions were not an “unreasonable or whimsical exercise of its discretion.” He called the misstatements Good Chemistry made in its Boston application concerning its community support a “fiasco,” though he characterized them as unintended.

“Given the political climate surrounding medical marijuana dispensaries in urban neighborhoods, any misrepresentation on this subject, intended or not, was material,” Billings wrote.

Worcester and Boston officials recently came to Good Chemistry’s defense, pleading with state regulators to reconsider its applications. Good Chemistry’s founders also run a marijuana dispensary in Colorado, and Billings noted that the company is “highly experienced and successful in a field brand new to Massachusetts.”

The court ruling “again validated our comprehensive and thorough process to ensure patient access and public safety across the Commonwealth,” state public health spokesman Dave Kibbe said in a statement. “We continue to focus on moving forward with our next steps for the inspection phase and the open county process.”

At least four other medical marijuana companies have gone to court challenging the state’s selection process. In each case, courts rejected their requests.

“We are surprised by the decision and genuinely befuddled by the entire application process,” Good Chemistry said in a statement Thursday.

“We are examining all options and will continue to work with the administration as we look forward to providing patients of Massachusetts with the same high quality medicine we provide our patients in Colorado.”

Good Chemistry had argued that the state’s denial of its Worcester dispensary application was arbitrary and capricious and based on a misinterpretation of a few words in the the application.

The company did not challenge the state’s rejection of its Boston dispensary application, but argued in its lawsuit that it should be allowed to reapply for a license there.

In June, state regulators eliminated nine of the 20 finalists for dispensary licenses for including misleading statements in their applications or questionable financial structures.

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