Residents of the Boston area may have to travel a little further than usual if they want to buy marijuana for recreational purposes.
Alternative Therapies Group announced Tuesday the temporary stop of adult marijuana sales in its Salem store due to a stock tracking problem. The dispensary located at 50 Grove St. became Massachusetts' third facility – and the first in the eastern part of the state, more populated – to begin marijuana sales for recreational purposes in December.
Chris Edwards, executive director of ATG, wrote in a blog on Tuesday that the clinic's inventory data had been "corrupted" in the state's "Metrc" real-time tracking system.
"This prevents us from transferring the recreational inventory from our growing facility and manufacturing products (or third-party suppliers) to the Salem dispensary," he wrote. "The METRC support team and the Cannabis Control Commission have worked hard to fix the problem, but it's a long and complex process."
According to Edwards, there is currently no timetable for solving the problem.
Shawn Collins, executive director of the CCC, said Metrc "remains fully functional" and that the problems faced by ATG are the fault of the clinic.
"The adult supply issues used by Alternative Therapies Group are the result of inappropriate inventory management practices and challenges are limited to their operations," Collins said in a statement.
All marijuana dispensaries for recreational purposes are required to use the Metrc Online System.
"The Cannabis Control Commission remains confident in the tracking system's ability to detect anomalies in the data, which licensees download, which signal potential risks to the health and safety of the public," Collins said. "To prevent diversion, the sale of contaminated products and other problems, Commission investigators will continue to regularly inspect marijuana establishments to ensure that they label, download and correctly track all stocks. "
According to the company's website, ATG remains open to patients suffering from marijuana for medical purposes "until further notice", but is "temporarily out of flower". The company also sells edible products and concentrates infused with marijuana.
In order to limit the lines and traffic around the store, ATG had asked adult customers to make an appointment to enter the Salem dispensary, but as of Wednesday morning, their online booking system was not available. Edwards noted Tuesday that even people who had already scheduled a visit could not buy marijuana for recreational purposes until the problem is resolved.
"We deeply regret not being able to honor leisure clients, even those who have scheduled appointments, until further notice," he wrote.
Three months after the start of marijuana sales for recreation in Massachusetts, there are nine adult dispensaries open in that state. However, only two – ATG at Salem and Temescal Wellness in Hudson – are currently operational in the east of I-495.