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Massachusetts officials give preliminary OK to 4 more medical pot dispensaries; total now 15


BOSTON — State public health officials have given preliminary approval to four more medical marijuana dispensaries, including the first for Boston.

Those announced Friday join 11 others approved earlier this year. All will go through final review before being granted licenses under the state's 2012 medical marijuana law.

The Boston facility is operated by Patriot Care Corp., also approved for a site in Greenfield. The others are Coastal Compassion, Inc., in Fairhaven, and Mass Medicum Corp. in Taunton.

Karen Van Unen, head of the state's medical marijuana program, said it's expected the first facilities can open this winter.

Those approved earlier are in Dennis, Salem, Haverhill, Northampton, Ayer, Newton, Lowell, Quincy, Brookline, Brockton and Milford.

The law allows up to 35 outlets to sell marijuana to patients suffering from conditions including cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

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