Massachusetts Draft Adult-Use Regulations Coming Next Week

While we don’t love all of the ideas that came out of the Cannabis Control Commission this past week, you have to keep them credit.  The CCC met in an open setting for six hours for four days straight and thoughtfully hammered out a road map for adult use cannabis for the future.  The CCC made decisions on big issues that will pave the way for the release of the draft regulations next week.

In general, the process to promulgate the adult use regulations has so far been very strong, organized and well managed. The transparency of the CCC through the process has been fantastic.  If you missed a CCC meeting this past week, you could review the daily press release on the CCC’s website summarizing the activities from the day before.

Importantly, the CCC has put itself in a positon to issue adult use licenses in July 2018. One of the smart ways that the CCC has stayed on track is relying on the medical marijuana regulatory framework.  From licensing to controls, the existing medical marijuana framework is serving as the basis for the adult use regulations going forward.

We do have two critiques about the big ideas that the CCC proposed.  First, regarding “priority review” for adult licensing, the proposal to alternate approvals between existing medical dispensaries and economic empowerment applicants could slow the issuance of licenses. Instead, the CCC should approve the priority review applicants — both the existing dispensaries and the economic empowerment applicants — on a rolling basis as the CCC’s review of each application is completed.

Second, social consumption licenses (unlike dispensary and cultivation licenses) are new to Massachusetts and there will be a lot of questions from municipalities. The CCC’s refusal to initially allow smoking at these entities highlights the complexities.  I urge the CCC to move more slowly in the licensing process for these entities than the other licenses.

We look forward to seeing the details of the draft regulations next week.

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