With a maximum of only 35 licenses, Massachusetts health groups are all competing for medical marijuana licenses, health officials have said. Prospective dispensaries were required to hand-deliver their applications by 3 p.m. yesterday, and over 100 have applied. The $30,000 fee is for the initial license, and the dispensaries will be required to pay a registration fee of $5,000 annually.

"We are glad that it was a highly competitive process and it will ensure patients’ access to the medical use of marijuana in the Commonwealth," said commissioner Cheryl Bartlett to the Associated Press.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is starting to implement the Act for the Humanitarian Use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes, a program designed to allow Massachusetts residents to obtain a prescription for marijuana under the new laws. The law will require at least one dispensary in each of the state’s 14 counties. However, there cannot be more than five in any one county.

The Department of Public Health is hoping to review the applications by mid-September, and then licenses will be handed out by the end of the year, according to Bartlett.

Patients who have certain debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, hepatitis C, or Crohn’s disease, are eligible for a prescription of up to 60 days for their own personal medical use. Other conditions will be determined per the medical provider’s discretion.

Also, in recent news, Dr. Sanjay Gupta recanted the views from his 2009 "Why I Would Vote No On Pot" Time magazine article, with an apology published in CNN.

“I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis,” said Gupta.

But even with pushes for legalizing marijuana, there are still opponents who are skeptical about the science behind the drug. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana causes an increase in heart rate, which could put users at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Some studies have also shown a link between chronic marijuana use and mental illness.

The future of medical marijuana in America is still unfolding as new laws and precedents are set.