Sticking to the timeline that it promised, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has created the framework so that adult use dispensing will begin in Massachusetts in July.
The regulations are finalized. The timeline for applications is as follows: (i) potential priority applicants can apply for certification as of April 1; (ii) certified priority applicants can apply for licenses as of April 15; (iii) non-priority applicants can apply for cultivation, microbusiness, craft cooperative, independent testing lab and lab agent licenses as of May 1; and (iv) non-priority applicants can apply for retail, product manufacturer and transport licenses as of June 1. Potential applicants should keep their eye on the CCC’s website for the applications, which should appear shortly.
While applicants must pay attention to the CCC’s comprehensive licensing process, the potential biggest challenge remains securing municipal approvals. All applicants must include a certification that they have executed a host community agreement as part of their application. While applicants need not have zoning approval for the site when submitting the application, they must secure zoning approval before the CCC will issue a final license. To receive a provisional license, the applicant’s municipality must certify to the Commission that its zoning ordinances allow the applicant’s proposed use. Applicants are finding that even if municipalities are supportive of the adult use applicant, the process to enter into a host community agreement and to secure zoning approval takes time. Applicants must also host a hearing in the host community before the application is submitted.
We should expect that a number of existing medical licensees will be approved to cultivate and dispense adult use marijuana and at least one economic empowerment applicant will be approved to dispense in July. Slowly thereafter, we will see more licensees come on-line. We are on our way!