The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission chairman told lawmakers that he plans to cut the wait time for licenses in half for the next budget year, the Boston Globe reports. Currently, cannabusinesses are waiting an average of 121 days to receive a license but, in a letter to the Joint Ways and Means Committee, CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins said he wants to hire more staff to bring the wait time down to 60 days.
“Toward this objective, the Commission will require additional funding to support hiring, particularly within our licensing and enforcement division. This budget will enable the Commission to continue our growth and potentially add up to 34 new [full-time equivalent positions.] In combination with IT and operational enhancements, hiring more Investigators and Licensing Specialists will enable the Commission to process applications on a quicker timeline while also ensuring continued compliance with state law and adherence to our mission.” – Collins, in a budget letter
The agency is seeking a $2.8 million operations budget increase for the fiscal year 2021 – a total of $12.4 million for operations – along with another $3.9 million for medical cannabis program oversight and a statewide public awareness campaign. In all, the agency is seeking $16.3 million.
CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman told the Globe that by cutting wait times and increasing licensing the state would be in a position to generate more tax revenues from the industry. So far, regulators have licensed 72 cultivators and farmers, 246 cannabis establishments – of which 37 are retailers – and more than 7,600 industry employees. Hoffman suggested that the state could sustain about 250 retail dispensaries.
In the fiscal year 2019, the CCC collected $8.7 million in non-tax revenues and Collins said the agency remains on track to exceed its $14 million projection this fiscal year from non-tax revenues.