Adult residents in Massachusetts will soon enjoy the benefits of legal cannabis delivered to their doors, as well as regulated cannabis lounges. The Cannabis Control Commission cast a 4-1 vote in favor of the legislation on Tuesday. Cannabis Control Chairman Steven Hoffman shared his support of this move.
“We feel like we have got a good balance between trying to meet the will of the voters but recognizing that there are concerns from a public health and a public safety standpoint,” said Hoffman.
Chairman Hoffman continued to share that licenses for cannabis delivery services could be considered by the commission as early as the next couple months. However, the commission must first make the application available to applicants. He also reminded prospective applicants to keep in mind they will need to obtain permission from the jurisdictions in which they plan to operate before they can apply for state licensing. This can be a lengthy process.
Social consumption licenses are expected to take even longer to roll out, as they will only be granted in 12 jurisdictions that opted into a pilot program. The commission still needs to approve a process for communities that want to allow cannabis consumption lounges before the pilot program can begin. Once approved, consumption lounges will allow adults 21 and over to vape, smoke and eat cannabis in a social setting.
For the first two years, licenses for cannabis delivery and consumption lounges will be granted solely to applicants who fall under the state’s social equity program. This program benefits those who have drug convictions, businesses owned by minorities and individuals living in communities who have been affected by the “War on Drugs.”
Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan cast the sole vote opposing the new regulations. One concern is that Massachusetts cannabis businesses that have already received approval, like retail, cultivation and microbusinesses, have had a slow start in licensing. Additionally, she is concerned about public health in regards to social consumption. “We talk about social consumption, we’re looking for places for people to go and consume this product, mostly by smoking or vaping,” Flanagan said. “I have concerns about that.”