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Editorial: A wait that may pay off

If one wanted to take a cynical look at the state’s recent awarding of license for medical marijuana dispensaries, you’d say that once again Franklin County was put at the bottom of Boston’s list.

Twenty licenses for dispensaries were approved, which should lead to the opening of facilities in 10 of the 14 counties across the state. That left Franklin County, along with Berkshire, Dukes and Nantucket counties, at the starting gate, despite efforts by local businesses to qualify. Here, three applicants took part in the applicant process, but failed to make the cut.

In the long run, though, this may actually prove beneficial.

The licensing body, the state Medical Use of Marijuana Program, has asked those interested to apply for one of the license available in the four counties that were left empty handed. Eight were found by the state to have the qualifications that it is seeking for a licensee — but were not granted approval for the location they were seeking. And the three local applicants A New Leaf, J.M. Farms Patient Group Inc. and M.R. Absolute Resources Inc. — have the opportunity to reapply.

The state does appear to be trying to ensure that these medical marijuana dispensaries have the best chance of being successful from all aspects. Reviewing the applications consisted of an evaluation that included corporate business background, management experience, operation plans, etc. As Karen van Unen, executive director of the state Department of Health said, “We’re committed to every person having access to high-quality medicine ... We weren’t prepared to settle for anything less than highly qualified applicants. Only dispensaries with the highest quality applications were selected to be part of this new industry.”

As for our homegrown applicants, we would like to think that the state has provided them with more details about their score than were made public. Otherwise, it would be hard for these three to figure out what parts of their plan need improving and therefore might result in a successful application.

Franklin County now will see if an applicant will emerge in June from this re-application process. It may turn out, in the long run, to be worth the wait.

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