Massachusetts is poised to scrap the annual fee for medical marijuana patients and permit home delivery of adult-use cannabis under an overhauled set of regulations.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has been working on revising the state’s medicinal and recreation cannabis rules since taking over the state’s program in December 2018. The Department of Public Health previously governed the Massachusetts cannabis sector, and the CCC is tasked with overhauling it.
After months of deliberations, the five members of the commission voted unanimously in favour of new draft regulations last week. It has now published them – one of recreational marijuana and the other on medical marijuana – and it will engage in a public consultation on the regulations next month before finalizing the state’s new marijuana framework.
“Now the public has the opportunity to grapple with some of the complex issues we have considered as we continue working together to build a safer, more equitable, and more effective industry in Massachusetts,” said commission chairman Steven Hoffman after initially announcing the end of its deliberations.
The most interesting development is the decision to axe the $50 annual fee for patients that hold a medical marijuana card.
It also focuses on two contentious areas within the state: permitting home delivery of adult-use cannabis and allowing cannabis cafes. The draft regulations set down a framework for licenses that solely cover marijuana delivery, which would require delivery firms to register with licensed retailers in the state and to engage in rigorous age and identity verification with consumers they are supplying.
The CCC has also recommended that Massachusetts allows on-site consumption of cannabis, but it would require a change in state law. It would like to see municipalities given the ability to permit cannabis cafes in a pilot scheme, but it needs legislators to approve those plans.
It feels that marijuana lounges could prevent children from inadvertently getting hold of cannabis left lying around in consumers’ houses.
Hoffman expects the CCC to finalize the state’s new rules by mid-September.
Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana in November 2018 and sales hit $140 million in the first six months of trade, enjoying a monthly growth rate of 21%, according to the CCC.
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