CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION SET TO ISSUE INITIAL REGULATIONS
The Cannabis Control Commission is finalizing an initial set of regulations for the legal cannabis industry. The regulations coming out of the CCC show some interest in doing the right thing, such as keeping the industry open to smaller players and minorities, but they are leaving big holes in what should be a multifaceted industry and burdening other areas with ridiculous overregulation.
Reserved supply for medical patients
The best thing the CCC has done is to make provisions to reserve a percentage of available cannabis supply for medical patients, so that the opening of recreational stores doesn’t suddenly exhaust the supply of cannabis for medical purposes.
The biggest holes are in the area of on-site consumption and home delivery.
Theoretically, it should be possible now to issue licenses for a variety of enticing venues: an acoustic-music coffeehouse with pastry and cannabis, an Indian restaurant with Indian music and cannabis, a singles lounge with hors d’oeuvres and cannabis, and who knows what other possibilities. But the commission has bowed to the influence of the governor, who wants everything to “go slow,” and so no licenses for on-site consumption are being issued this summer and probably not this fall. Since Massachusetts can expect to be swamped with marijuana tourism this summer the minute a few stores open, providing no places for tourists to legally consume what they buy amounts to entrapment. We can expect lots of citations for public consumption and complaints from hotel and other business owners about unwanted smoke in their establishments. Effectively, the CCC has built a broken system from scratch and started it up with the gears loose.
Home delivery is currently allowed for medical purposes, but when the stores open (supposedly at the beginning of July), they will not be allowed, for the time being, to offer home delivery. Nor will anyone be allowed to operate a delivery-only service.
At some later date, the question of home delivery will be taken up, and supposedly at that time there will be an effort to allow small-business and minority owners to operate home delivery services without opening a store. We’ll see how that promise is kept.
Meanwhile, legal stores and legal growers are subject to a lot of expensive and complicated regulations. Stores have to have two alarm systems from different companies, farms have to have a fence around the entire perimeter of a marijuana grow. Deliveries, when they’re allowed, will require two drivers in each truck with a GPS unit in a sealed compartment being monitored back at the store.
We still have hopes that stores will open in July without further delay, and the current regulations are not necessarily for all time. The irrational fear behind such regulations tends to die down with time and greater familiarity, and the increasing wealth of the industry will give it the influence to combat them. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of dealers out there who have not been much affected by the work of the Cannabis Control Commission.
Andy Gaus is a writer and editor living in Boston who has written, edited, spoken, lobbied and protested in support of legal cannabis for some 15 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.