After almost ending the 2015 fiscal year with a budget deficit, the state’s medical marijuana program will end 2016 in the black. Progress has been slow moving with the program leaving many patients and activists upset. Massachusetts voter’s approved marijuana for medical use in 2012, but the first dispensary didn’t open until June 2015 in Salem. Progress seems to be gaining steam though; three more dispensaries did open that year and two opened in 2016 bringing the total to six.
The program’s budget for fiscal year 2016 has allocated $3.3 million in revenue with an expected total of $2.98 million in expenditures, resulting in a positive net of $320,610. State officials said they were very proud of the progress the program has made since it’s less almost fiscal disaster last year. However, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health Monica Bharel, who is in charge of overseeing the program, stated that the 2015 deficit was a result of one-time costs required to start the program and has an optimistic outlook for the future.