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3 more firms sue over marijuana licensing

The state’s troubled medical marijuana dispensary licensing process is facing yet another lawsuit, with three more jilted companies suing to stop regulators from issuing licenses in much of the state until the firms’ applications are reconsidered.

A suit filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court asks that the state health department review applications filed by Beacon Wellness Center Inc. in Norfolk County, JM Farm’s Patient Group Inc. in Franklin County, and Mass Organic Therapy Inc. in Plymouth County.

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The companies received among the highest marks during licensing evaluations, but were skipped over in January because each had an executive who didn’t pass a background check. They were told by regulators that if they removed the person, each company would still be in the running, according to the lawsuit.

The companies followed state regulators’ directions and removed the executives, but were then rejected for licenses in late June without explanation, the suit says.

At the same time, at least four other companies that received provisional licenses, or were invited to reapply for an alternative dispensary location, were allowed to remove individuals whom regulators found unsuitable.

Eleven applicants have been selected for licenses in Massachusetts, but have not yet opened, nearly two years after voters approved a medical marijuana law. The process has been stymied by problematic background checks and accusations of political favoritism by state regulators.

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

“We are pleased that multiple courts have validated our comprehensive process to ensure patient access and public safety across the Commonwealth,” the state health department said in a statement Tuesday. “We are focused on moving forward.”

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