The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is expected to open applications for recreational cannabis delivery services later this month, MassLive reports. For the first two years, the licenses will be reserved for social equity and economic empowerment applicants.
Some commissioners said during their meeting last week that the service is a priority during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Charlie Baker shut down recreational cannabis sales in the state as part of his stay-at-home order fearing that allowing sales during the crisis would draw people from out-of-state.
The plan was backed by commissioners Shaleen Title and Britte McBride. Title said that, while the state backed off delivery plans in 2017, regulators had addressed those early concerns. “But now, just the entire concept of delivery is so much more relevant,” she said.
McBride said that delivery would help stop illicit sales during the pandemic and move people back into the regulated market.
“We’re in the middle right now of uncharted territory but, we know, or suspect, that just because other people are staying at home it doesn’t mean that the illicit market is staying at home. It still exists, it’s still there, it is still available, and starting to chip away at that is extremely important. I think that this provides us with a tool to start to get there and it’s important to do so.” – McBride during the commission meeting via MassLive
The plan was opposed during the meeting by commissioner Jennifer Flanagan who voiced concerns over the “timing of it” – namely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Flanagan was the lone opposing vote against the measure.
“I really think we need to take into account what’s going on at the time that this starts to happen,” she said during the meeting. “I know it’s not a popular thought to have. I’ll probably get a lot of criticism for it. But I really think that we need to at the same time balance the health needs.”
During the meeting, the commissioners discussed precertification for delivery applications before they apply for a provisional license. The precertification will include things like business information, tax information, and insurance plans, but not things like the certification of a host community agreement or capital resources, which will be considered for the provisional license.
Last year, the agency voted in favor of delivery services and social-use provisions. Currently, 18 medical cannabis dispensaries in the state offer delivery services. The applications are expected to be online May 28.