Berkshire County submits 3 medical marijuana proposals to state


PITTSFIELD -- Three applications to operate a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary in Berkshire County have been submitted to the state Department of Public Health in time for this week's deadline.

The applications were hand-delivered in Boston by Greenhouse Dispensary Inc.; Manna Wellness; and Prospect Lake Inc., which is not affiliated with Great Barrington-based Prospect Lake Park, according to a park spokesman. The applications do not specify, nor are they required at this juncture, where the proposed dispensaries would be situated in the county.

In this first of a two-part process, the applications will be reviewed for eligibility under a law voters approved in November 2012. The medical marijuana measure allows for marijuana to be made available to patients with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, and AIDS, and for dispensaries to serve those patients.

State officials will first conduct background checks and screen applicants that have a required reserve fee of $500,000. Groups that clear the initial review will be invited to submit final applications, accompanied by a non-refundable $30,000 fee. A selection committee will then score the final applicants.

The three applications for Berkshire County will be competing with 181 others statewide for a maximum of 35 licenses. Each county is required to have at least one dispensary, but no more than five.

Compared to the rest of the state, Berkshire County received the second-fewest number of applicants behind only Nantucket County, which received two applications. Middlesex County received the most applications at 47.

Spokeswoman Julia Germaine, of Manna Wellness Inc., said the nonprofit formed in May is currently eyeing a facility at least 7,500 square feet in Pittsfield, but declined to disclose a specific location at this early stage of the application process. The nonprofit has been in communication with town officials since April.

Manna Wellness was founded by Eric Germaine, a retired veterinarian. Consultants have been brought on to advise the newly formed business.

In the first year, Julia Germaine said it would be difficult to anticipate a patient load, but she expected to hire 15 full-time employees that would include cultivators, medical advisers, and a security manager. The facility would serve a maximum patient base of 1,900 individuals.

"I am excited about jobs being created because of the marriage between traditional agriculture techniques and emerging technology on medical marijuana," Julia Germaine said.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this article.

To reach John Sakata:
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @JSakata


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