Liquor stores are moving to gain a foothold in the Commonwealth’s new cannabis market. Last month, the Massachusetts Package Store Association (MPSA) agreed to support members that will apply for licenses to sell recreational marijuana. The unanimous board vote by the MPSA, which represents hundreds of liquor stores in the state, reflects the growing interest among alcohol retailers to enter the billion-dollar local market. And coming from an industry that fears losing a hefty market share to recreational pot, the vote also reflects a concession: legal marijuana is here to stay.
The state’s alcohol industry split over legalization. While the MPSA stayed neutral on Question 4, the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Massachusetts spent $75,000 to defeat the referendum. Post-legalization, there is consensus among the industry that marijuana sales must be carefully controlled. Liquor stores seeking to enter the cannabis business will certainly be well-served by their experience selling heavily regulated products. But regulations could prohibit this one-stop shop.