The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission voted 4-1 to allow cannabis home delivery and social consumption with just Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan dissenting, MassLive reports. Flanagan said she was concerned about the potential public health implications, including the rise in vaping-related illness. The state has just issued a 4-month ban on sales and distribution of vaping products after 61 people in the state have fallen ill with the pulmonary illness related to vaping.
Flanagan also said regulators “need to stand up” the cannabis industry, “making sure the retail and cultivation and microbusinesses all get priority” before rolling out social-use and home delivery.
“We feel like we have got a good balance between trying to meet the will of the voters but recognizing that there are concerns from a public health and a public safety standpoint.” — Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman, to MassLive
For the first two years, both license types will be reserved for social equity and economic empowerment applicants.
Both licenses will still require the host community agreements – which have come under fire recently after the arrest of Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia for allegedly extorting cannabis businesses under the guise of the host agreements. The Springfield City Council is also investigating a $200,000 donation by a cannabis company for a school environmental program and park in the city to ensure it was not a bribe in exchange for an operator license.
Hoffman said recently that those host agreements give “a disproportionate advantage to bigger companies” since they “can afford to throw in a fire truck” on top of the 3 percent given to the community from gross receipts as allowed under the state’s cannabis law. He does expect home delivery licenses to start being considered in “a couple of months” after the agency posts its application for the sector.
Social-use licenses will start with a pilot program of a dozen municipalities that need to opt-in. The Legislature still needs to approve a process to allow those communities to adopt social-use rules.
Applying for the licenses will cost $1,500 with a $10,000 annual renewal fee – both fees can be reduced or waived for social equity and economic empowerment applicants.