The list of companies vying to open Massachusetts' first medical marijuana dispensaries has been pared down significantly, according to the latest numbers released Thursday by state regulators.
Just 100 organizations submitted applications by the 3 p.m. deadline, but roughly a third of those that survived the first-round cut in September chose not to go forward.
Many prospective applicants were apparently knocked out by recent rule changes that required each company to prove it has $500,000 cash available in its bank account for start-up costs.
Before the rule changes, regulators merely required the medical marijuana dispensary applicants to show that the money was pledged by investors in commitment letters.
Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the state health department bureau that oversees the process, said she is encouraged that there is a "robust" number of companies still in the running.
"There is a number of strong applicants who are willing to go through the process, and can assure us they can meet all the requirements, that they have the wherewithal financially and otherwise to able to be set up a coherent and effective business," she said.
Her bureau is in the process of assembling a selection committee that will review the applications, starting in early December. Their projected target date to announce the names of those chosen to open dispensaries is Jan. 31.
Under state law, up to 35 permits may be granted in this first round, with at least one dispensary permit, and no more than five, in each county.