Boston’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens Downtown

You'd miss it if you weren't looking for it.

Photo via iStock/Nicholas Belton

Photo via iStock/Nicholas Belton

Four years after Massachusetts became the eighteenth state to legalize medical marijuana, Boston’s first dispensary opened in Downtown Crossing Wednesday.

Located in a former bank at 21 Milk Street, Patriot Care is the seventh dispensary to open in Massachusetts. The nondescript location plans to serve 150 customers a day, with 200 patients preregistered with the dispensary by the time it opened. The marijuana will be grown in a Patriot Care facility in Lowell.

“Our goal was to provide (patients) with a highly accessible location and all the T lines stop within a few blocks of here, a dozen bus lines stop nearby,” Patriot Care CEO Bob Mayerson told the State House News Service. “The location itself is meant to be very warm and comforting and inviting and we want patients to feel comfortable when they get here.”

“But we don’t expect it to be overwhelming,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Patriot Care’s parent company, Columbia Care. “It’s still a medically focused program so the patients we see have all received their certification from physicians approved by the state.”

Father Joe Quinn, a Franciscan friar at St. Anthony’s Shrine two blocks away, was diagnosed with an ultra-rare condition two years ago, leaving him in excruciating pain. Unable to take narcotics, Quinn turned to medical marijuana, which he says had made all the difference.

“This is a blessing,” Quinn said at the grand opening, which saw he and other friars from St. Anthony’s bless the dispensary. “Medical marijuana has dramatically changed and helped my life and the quality of it.”

The dispensary will carry 10 different strains of marijuana flowers, including Chocolope, Strawberry Amnesia and Sour Kush, as well as edibles and concentrates.

Meanwhile, the debate over the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts is heating up, with Boston City Council President Michelle Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson formally endorsing the state ballot question this week, at odds with Mayor Marty Walsh.