Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission landed firmly in the middle of the road when it voted on February 26, 2018, to postpone granting licenses to marijuana home-delivery services and “social consumption” operations. In justifying the delay, the CCC claimed that it needs additional time to craft rules that address public health and safety concerns, such as impaired driving and underage sales. Despite the postponement, it’s important to note that these limitations in no way impact retail marijuana dispensaries and their suppliers, which remain scheduled to open for business in July 2018.
While the decision is a setback for those in favor of an immediate roll-out, the CCC did agree to initially grant delivery and social consumption licenses to individuals affected by the War on Drugs, meaning that they will not be boxed out of the market when those licenses become available in 2019. This policy is meant to preserve a place in the market for lower-cost marijuana businesses, like delivery services.
While Governor Baker applauded the CCC’s action as part of establishing a “safe and responsible retail” market, others may view it as an opportunity that will appeal to entrepreneurs lacking investment capital, as the types of businesses affected will be far less costly than a retail shop or cultivation operation.
Also, as part of the compromise, two types of small marijuana operations—craft cooperatives and micro-businesses—will be allowed to deliver once licenses are issued in 2019. Retail shops, large growers, and manufacturers of cannabis products (e.g., edibles) will be restricted from offering delivery themselves and, therefore, will have to partner with an outside service. The restriction period is yet to be determined.