State regulators rejected a medical marijuana company’s bid to open dispensaries in Boston and Worcester for allegedly misrepresenting support from local leaders, but now state and city officials are pleading the company’s case.
In letters urging the state to reverse its denial of Good Chemistry of Massachusetts’ dispensary in Worcester, the mayor, a city councilor, and six state legislators wrote that the company has broad support in the city and is being unfairly penalized.
In Boston, City Council President Bill Linehan also wrote a letter to the state in June supporting Good Chemistry’s plans for a dispensary in the city. On Tuesday, he said he stands by that support even though state health officials have announced that the company was eliminated.
“They seem like a qualified group to be in my district,” Linehan said during a telephone interview.
The letters of support are included in a lawsuit filed by Good Chemistry; whose lawyers are scheduled to be in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday to seek a temporary restraining order against the state. Such an order would halt the state’s plan to accept applications on Aug. 29 from four companies invited to apply for dispensaries in Suffolk County — which includes Boston — as well as six other counties that don’t have approved facilities.
The suit is among a number that have challenged the state’s contentious selection process, which in June led to the elimination of nine of the 20 finalists on grounds of including misleading statements or questionable financial structures.
The only dispensary approved for Worcester county is in Milford, which is more than 30 milesaway for some Worcester residents, according to elected officials.
“It is simply unacceptable that Worcester has been denied a marijuana dispensary and we urge DPH to reconsider Good Chemistry’s application so that our constituents have access to necessary medication from a well-respected and reputable organization,” wrote Democratic Representatives James O’Day, Dan Donahue, John Mahoney, and Mary Keefe in a July letter to the state’s medical marijuana program.
Good Chemistry’s suit alleges that the state’s denial of its Worcester dispensary was arbitrary, capricious, and based on a misinterpretation of a few words in the company’s application. The company is not challenging the state’s rejection of its Boston dispensary, but argues in its suit that it should be allowed to reapply for a dispensary there.
The state health department, in court documents filed Tuesday, defended its rejection of Good Chemistry, saying the company’s “misleading and incorrect” statements of support from other Worcester officials are why it was disqualified.
The department said Good Chemistry may reapply for a dispensary license next year. But the state said the health department, and the entire dispensary licensing process, would suffer serious harm if the court halts the process.
“It is wholly against the public’s interest to stop the next phase of the [dispensary] registration process and delay providing widespread patient access to medical marijuana for the Commonwealth’s citizens who are ill, suffering, and will benefit from this program,” the state said.
The Globe reported in February that Good Chemistry falsely claimed on its Boston application that it had support from state legislators and a city councilor.
The company acknowledged the misstatements and said it inadvertently placed references of support from Worcester-area officials in the portion of the application regarding Boston.
State officials said the Worcester application falsely suggested that Good Chemistry met with the sheriff and police chief.
Good Chemistry’s suit says there was “nothing false or misleading” about the company’s description of its support and outreach.
Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty sent a letter to state health officials in July saying he was impressed by Good Chemistry and disappointed by the company’s rejection because it left patients without a dispensary in the city.
Senator Harriette L. Chandler, a Worcester Democrat, said she found it “very peculiar” that state regulators kicked Good Chemistry out of the running.
“They had tried to do their due diligence in terms of talking to the people,” said Chandler, who had met with company officials and found their track record in Colorado impressive.
Shelley Murphy can be reached at shelley.murphy
@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph. Kay Lazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @globe
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