After quite some time, the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts has finally approved the regulations needed for the state to move forward with accepting applications for the newly legal cannabis industry. They had a deadline of March 15th, but this week it was announced that things were finally falling into place and that if all goes well, everything should be ready for legal sales to start as scheduled on July 1st. However, this may also fall on local lawmakers to ensure that their regulations and procedures are in place for businesses as well.
“I think we have a lot of work to do in terms of building our staff and building our technology, but I think we have a good foundation based upon these regulations, so I am confident,” CCC Chairman Steve Hoffman told the State House News Service, adding, “Our intent is to have a go on July 1 and we are hitting all of the deadlines that we have in the legislation, so I’m feeling good about that.”
There are a few issues that the Cannabis Control Commission has yet to hash out – like licenses for cannabis cafes, legal home delivery services, and whether or not THC-infused edibles would be allowed in places like movie theaters. They are being pushed to come up with some way to regulate these issues by Governor Charlie Baker, but in order to keep things on track they have put off these less immediate issues until an October 31st deadline.
They did determine that dispensaries that hold licenses for recreational cannabis sales will be required to keep a certain amount of their product for medical marijuana patients. Those patients would need to have a medical marijuana ID card and would be required to have a separate line for making purchases in the dispensaries. Since the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries are still few and far between, this makes sense as it opens up more options for patients looking to purchase medicine.
When it comes to cultivation facilities, they are going to start off by limiting all operations to 100,000 square feet for the time being. The growers will be sorted into one of 11 tiers and would need to prove that they can sell at least 85 percent of the cannabis they grow before being approved to grow more. This is an effort to hopefully reduce the amount of legally grown marijuana that ends up on the illegal market, either in-state or out-of-state.
The last major thing that was determined was labeling requirements for THC infused edibles – which includes two symbols. One that is red hexagon outline that reads “Not Safe for Kids” and the other is a red triangle outline with a cannabis leaf in the middle.
Overall, the state is finally getting ready for the legal sale of cannabis to begin as planned – after their initial six-month delay. It appears that while they did push things back once, they have no further plans to make consumers wait; legal sales should begin on time this summer, with cannabis cafes and more possibly as early as this fall.