Massachusetts Gov. Refuses to Reopen Adult-Use Dispensaries

Despite pressure from advocates and at least one cannabis regulator, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that the reopening of adult-use dispensaries in the state during the coronavirus crisis is a “non-starter.”

Full story after the jump.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) called the reopening of recreational cannabis dispensaries a “non-starter” because they would likely attract out-of-state customers, MassLive reports. Yesterday, Baker extended his order closing non-essential businesses until May 4 and did not carve out an exception for adult-use cannabis shops.

“There is tons of evidence that because Massachusetts is one of the few states in the Northeast that’s legalized recreational marijuana, that if we make recreational marijuana an essential business … we are going to have to deal with the fact that people are going to come here from all over the place.” – Baker via MassLive

Baker initially closed non-essential businesses last week as part of the state’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Cannabis Control Commission imposed social distancing rules to allow continued sales but ultimately shut down recreational sales entirely. Industry business owners and advocates – including at least one member of the Cannabis Control Commission – have called on Baker to reopen adult-use dispensaries arguing the shops could implement the same safety measures being used at medical dispensaries. The advocates say that many recreational consumers would be medical cannabis patients but either don’t want – or cannot afford – to enroll in the program.

Uxbridge Selectman Stephen Mandile argued that since the state is still allowing alcohol sales, adult-use cannabis sales should be permitted and that Baker has not provided “a compelling answer” as to why the state shut down recreational sales.

Recreational cannabis is considered “essential” in other states that allow adult-use sales. Each has implemented safety measures – social distancing, increased sanitation practices, curbside sales, or delivery services – in order to protect customers, staff, and patients.

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