Department of Health (HEALTH) Interim Director Michael Fine, MD, today announces a one-week postponement in the naming of qualified applicant(s) for registration as a Compassion Center. Fine is in his first full week at HEALTH and, as the person ultimately responsible for the decision on qualified applicants, he requires additional time to thoroughly review all 18 applications. Additionally, discussions of and preparation for the budget have consumed much of Fine’s first week as Interim Director. The Medical Marijuana Program and the anticipated Compassion Center(s) will impact HEALTH’s budget, and those implications must be considered before a final decision is made.
“HEALTH staff have been working diligently on the review of the 18 applications and we are dedicated to maintaining the highest integrity of the decision-making process,” Fine said. “This has been a challenging budget season requiring much of the Department’s focus and energy. In order to make an informed decision about such a complex issue, I will need a few more days to finalize the Department’s decision on Compassion Centers. We are firmly committed to making a decision by March 15.”
In October, HEALTH estimated that it would take between four to six months to review the applications and render a decision. With a decision now expected on March 15, the Department is still within that timeframe.