It’s been a long road to legalization in Massachusetts since voters approved recreational sales and possession in November of 2016. Through delays and a lot of regulations, the day recreational sales become legal – July 1st – fast approaches.
So will adults be able to buy cannabis in Massachusetts starting next month, for any reason?
The short answer is: some will, but probably not most. On July 1, 2018, the only establishments that will be selling recreational cannabis will be existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Since only 53 (out of 1,145) licensed applications submitted to the state were fully complete, places that have a license to sell recreationally will be few and far between, initially. Some 36 of those 53 are medical marijuana dispensaries that also want to sell for adult-use. Since the MMJ dispensaries are the only ones with a current supply of cannabis to sell, they will be the only ones selling until adult-use shops can get approved and up and running.
“We have said from the start that July 1 is not a legislative mandate, it’s our objective and we are going to try to meet that objective, but we are going to do it right,” said Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission. He called the target date an ”arbitrary deadline”, but nonetheless one the state wants to adhere to as closely as they can.
With taxes on recreational sales clocking in at up to 20%, prices will be high initially. When you factor in the sparse supply, consumers in MA can expect prices to rise even higher. It could take several months before even most of the people in the state who want to buy recreational cannabis will be able to do so in a legal establishment. Until then, the black market will continue to operate with little competition. That will be less true as time goes on, and increased supply will lead to a drop in prices.
As for growing, adults will be able to grow up to 6 plants indoors or in a secure outdoor location, and 2 or more adults living in the same place will be able to grow up to 12 plants. This is the route many will take, especially if recreational shops are slow to open.
A lot of what adult-use retailers will be able to do depends on recreational cultivators and how quick they can get to growing. Without enough product being grown, there will be nothing for many retailers to sell.