Mass. picks leader of medical marijuana program

BOSTON (AP) — The administrator of community health care programs has been selected to lead the state's medical marijuana program.

The state Department of Public Health on Monday named Karen van Unen executive director of the program.

Officials say Van Unen was selected for her extensive experience in public health, nonprofit management and patient access. She previously served as chief operating officer at DotWell in Dorchester, which coordinates community and public health programs for more than 40,000 people in the Boston neighborhood.

Van Unen is a board member and past president of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. She began serving as a consultant on the implementation of the medical marijuana program following its approval by voters in November, 2012.

The state will allow up to 35 nonprofit dispensaries across the state.

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