MA marijuana regulators delay cannabis cafes, home delivery options

Jodi Emery

Jodi Emery

They want the state to allow them to participate in the California cannabis market while allowing them to regulate themselves, not the state. Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and others who opposed legalizing marijuana called on the CCC to scale back the industry envisioned in its draft regulations at least until an initial retail market takes hold.

The five-member commission early Monday afternoon voted 4-1 to launch a legal retail marijuana industry on July 1 without licensing delivery services or establishments where people could use marijuana socially, aspects of a new industry that were contemplated in the 2016 ballot law and authorized under the state's legal marijuana laws.

Hoffman said the feedback from the governor's office and other elected officials did not ratchet up the pressure on the commission.

Commissioners agreed to draft an action plan to address the concepts in two weeks, restart discussions about new guidelines in October and, finally, create a draft set of new regulations by February 2019. Kay Doyle, the only commissioner to vote against the deferments, told the Globe she was anxious about oversight and compliance.

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The vote was a setback for those who wanted an immediate roll-out of delivery and social consumption licenses.

"The major problem with delaying these licenses is the effect it will have on the opportunity for equitable market participation in this industry", said Commissioner Shaleen Title, who was a long time activist before her appointment past year.

"I'm concerned about compliance and I don't feel like I have enough information at this point", Doyle said Monday.

"Regardless of whether there is any merit to the underlying arguments for the need to delay these licenses, I felt it was clear. that there was a sense of fear and hesitance and a lack of confidence in the commission", Title said.

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"Our job is to balance them and get this right", he said.

"No small business or equity applicant would have even had product ready to deliver until close to the end of the year, so starting everything at the same time would have let the established, well-financed dispensaries corner the market", said Shanel Lindsay, a cannabis business owner and activist.

But retail pot shops, larger growers, and manufacturers of edibles and other cannabis products could not offer delivery services of their own for a period to be defined - perhaps as long as five years - meaning they would have to partner with one of the so-called "equity" businesses.

"The delay with the exclusivity for equity and small business is the best case scenario".

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