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September 25, 2013

State announces second round of pot clinic applicants

All but two of the applicants hoping to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Essex County made it through the first phase of the state’s application process.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced this week that 16 of the 18 Essex County applicants are eligible to apply for a second selection round later this year.

The two who did not make the cut were Lynne McCarren of Swampscott, who submitted an application for North Shore Progressive Health Inc., and Robert Ciardi, who had submitted applications for HolistiCare Health Centers in three different counties.

McCarren, who describes herself as a healer, previously told the Salem News she hoped to open a wellness center and was eyeing a site off Swampscott Road in Salem.

“Applications were denied for a wide variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, failing to incorporate as a non-profit or a lack of demonstrated financial viability,” the department of public health said in a press release this week.

Ciardi’s three HolistiCare Helath Center applications — in Essex, Middlesex and Plymouth counties — were all denied. Ciardi is managing partner and cofounder of Boston-based Provident Healthcare Partners.

Massachusetts voters passed a ballot question to legalize medical marijuana last November.

The newly passed law allows for a total of 35 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, with no more than five in each county. The centers may grow, process and provide marijuana to patients who have a prescription from a physician.

Applicants who made it through the first selection phase this week will be able to apply for phase two later this year — a deadline is yet to be announced, said David Kibbe, DPH spokesperson.

The second round deadline will be sometime after an Oct. 10 public forum in Somerville, planned to disseminate more information to applicants and allow them to ask questions of state officials.

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