Archives For Marijuana
20 companies to undergo more scrutiny
The Massachusetts Public Health Department said it will deeply scrutinize companies given provisional approval to run medical marijuana dispensaries.
The department notified companies approved for 20 provisional licenses that they will be subjected to extensive additional background checks on anyone “who will have any involvement” with the proposed dispensaries, including volunteers, consultants, advisory board members, staff members, and all corporate and individual investors.
Previously, the agency had said it would review only those who contributed 5 percent or more toward the operations, as well as the board of directors and members of the executive management team and corporation.
News of the background checks was contained in a letter dated March 14 and obtained by The Boston Globe.
“These follow-up background checks are only one part of the ongoing verification process,” the letters said. The agency refused additional comment.
The agency on Thursday sent similar letters to six companies that were not chosen for provisional licenses but were invited by the state to reapply in one of the counties that has not yet been earmarked for a dispensary.
Companies are being charged $550 per individual checked, according to the letters. That’s in addition to the $30,000 charged for the application fee.
The selection process has come under intense scrutiny and three rejected companies have filed lawsuits.
Most dispensaries were expected to be running by August, but it’s unclear if the additional background checks will delay any openings.
3 people seriously injured in Astle Street blast
A house explosion that injured three people in Tewksbury on Tuesday night has been blamed on a drug operation involving marijuana and butane.
An 18-year-old woman and two men, ages 20 and 21, were inside the multi-family home at 22 Astle St. Tuesday night when the building exploded and caught on fire.
Fire officials confirmed Wednesday that someone in the home was trying to extract THC from marijuana when an ignition source came in contact with vapors, causing the explosion.
“The buildup of butane vapors within the apartment came in contact with an ignition source and an explosion ensued,” Tewksbury Fire Chief Michael Hazel said. “The process was being performed on and around an electric stove within the apartment. A number of full and empty and butane cylinders were found at the scene. This was a very dangerous situation for the residents and the firefighters.”
All three victims suffered serious injuries.
“There are burns about the face, head, arms and hands,” Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan said.
Police are investigating reports that two people were seen running from the home after the explosion.
The home has natural gas service, but investigators have ruled it out, saying it was not the cause of the fire.
“There’s going to be no one going back in the dwelling afterward. All the windows are blown off the frame, and the roof collapsed. The fire spread to the attic of the residence,” Sheehan said.
Six people, including the three victims, were displaced.
110 guns seized in 2014
BOSTON — Boston police arrested five people and seized nine illegal guns in a 15-hour span starting Friday, officials said.
Police first recovered four guns, ammunition and a ballistic vest from a backpack inside a trash can at Thetford Avenue and Evans Street in Dorchester at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
Later that night at 47 Topliff St. in Mattapan, police said they seized seized three guns and 15 plastic bags of marijuana while executing a search warrant. Jesor Brown, 19, of Roslindale; James Edwards, 22, of Dorchester; and Jesus Gonzalez, 23, of Dorchester were arrested on various firearm and drug charges.
Police said at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday they recovered two handguns during a motor vehicle stop at Carmen and Radcliffe streets in Dorchester. Lino Cook, 22, of Dorchester, and Rickie Thompson, 29, of Mattapan, were arrested for violating auto laws and firearm charges.
“Reducing violence in our neighborhood starts with taking illegal guns off of our streets,” Police Commissioner William Evans said in a statement.
Police have seized 110 firearms in Boston in 2014.
Quincy senator files bill to restructure medical marijuana law
BOSTON — Team 5 Investigates first exposed questionable practices at local medical marijuana clinics in November.
Team 5 Investigates’ Kathy Curran has learned when it comes to enforcement and oversight, there’s very little being done to regulate the industry right now.
“It’s wrong, purely and simply, it’s wrong,” said Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Public Health.
Keenan is troubled by what Team 5 Investigates’ undercover investigation into Canna Car Docs discovered last fall.
With $200 in hand, a potential patient with a physical injury walked into their South Boston clinic for the first time and walked out with a recommendation for medical marijuana in just 20 minutes.
The office staff put the patient’s name on the recommendation before she even saw the physician and the doctor on duty, Dr. H. Scott Breen, never examined the injury that brought her to the clinic.
“They didn’t ask for any medical records, any X-rays and any MRI’s?” asked Team 5′s Curran.
“No, none of the above,” said the patient, whose identity Team 5 Investigates agreed to protect.
“I thought it was pretty easy, shockingly so, to think you can just walk in and within 20 minutes all of that was done and I was able to walk out with a certificate, good to go.”
“That would not be acceptable under DPH regulations related to medical marijuana and if that person was employed by a Department of Public Health licensed facility, we would certainly take action,” said Dr. Madeline Biondolillo, director of health care safety and quality.
But because the company isn’t licensed by the Department, when it comes to enforcement, there’s not much they can do. “Right now, we can only do what we have authority to do,” said Biondolillo.
Currently the state has no idea who’s writing these recommendations or who’s receiving medical marijuana, because of the nature of the law and the fact that the state’s system isn’t fully up and running. It’s been that way since doctors began writing recommendations allowing patients to grow their own pot in January 2013.
“I just think we’re going to regret where we’re heading with medical marijuana,” said Keenan.
“Would you say the cart was before the horse?” asked Curran.
“Yes, and I think it still is, despite the best efforts of DPH, and I think they’ve done a very good job. They’ve come up with regulations that I think are better than a lot of other states but despite that, I think the cart is before the horse,” said Keenan. Keenan points to loopholes and weak legislation that are fueling the problem and he’s filed legislation to restructure the medical marijuana law.
Team 5 has also learned the Department is working with Canna Care Docs to determine any necessary licensing requirements.
In a written statement, a representative for Canna Care Docs said the company is working to obtain licenses for its clinics from DPH and in the interim, the company is operating with the state’s full knowledge. The company also told us last fall that all of their current doctors are fully licensed and in good standing.