Nick Kotsopoulos Telegram & Gazette Staff @NCKotsopoulos
Wednesday Mar 4, 2020 at 2:35 PM Mar 4, 2020 at 6:07 PM
WORCESTER – The Board of Health will allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Worcester to extend their hours to match recreational marijuana stores.
Under an amendment approved Monday by the Board of Health, licensed dispensaries can stay open until 11 p.m. daily. They cannot open before 8 a.m., or 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The amended regulation takes effect immediately. But dispensaries have to seek a new license to amend their hours, according to Karyn E. Clark, Worcester director of public health. Current licenses allow them to stay open until 7 p.m.
She described the process as a formality. The dispensaries are being notified that they can go before the Board of Health at its next meeting, in April.
Worcester has four licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, and all share space with adult-use marijuana stores or intend to do do. The Board of Health set the original regulations in June 2017, before adult-use marijuana sales began.
The adult-use store hours — 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday — are set by the Planning Board through a special permit process and by the License Commission.
But the different sets of hours have created problems for businesses that sell both medical and adult-use marijuana. In some instances, dispensaries had to turn away medical patients while the same space was still open for recreational sales. A dispensary asked the city in November to consider amending the hours allowed.
The Board of Health held a public hearing on amending the hours last month and voted Monday night.