The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission started accepting “priority certification” applications from cannabis businesses today.
It can be recalled that in November 2016, voters approved a ballot initiative allowing the use of recreational cannabis in Massachusetts. The state will officially launch the sale of adult-use pot on July 1.
Who are eligible for the priority certification?
Businesses that are already operating medical cannabis dispensaries but want to expand into commercial pot sales are qualified for priority certification.
Also eligible are prospective cannabis businesses seeking to operate under the commission’s economic empowerment program. This program encompasses businesses in minority or low-income communities that have been disproportionately affected by the government’s so-called war on drugs.
The businesses that have been granted priority certification may then apply for commercial licenses later this month. The commission is scheduled to accept commercial license applications from those with priority certification starting April 16.
The Cannabis Control Commission’s schedule
The Cannabis Control Commission approved the proposed schedule just last month. This schedule will pave the way for a safe, effective, and equitable implementation of the state’s recreational cannabis law.
Pursuant to the approved schedule, from April 2 to 16, the CCC will allow all prospective businesses to seek to be part of its priority certification process. Other applications for retail licenses, as well as applications for cultivation licenses, will have to wait later in the spring.
Specifically, the CCC will start accepting license applications for cultivators, microbusinesses, craft marijuana cooperatives, and independent testing labs starting May 1. Meanwhile, cannabis retailers, product manufacturers, and product transporters can start sending in their applications on June 1.
There will be a lot of interest in opening facilities and retail outlets in Massachusetts because New England states are small. – Cannabis advocate and the Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Jim Borghesani
The CCC and the Advisory Board
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission was established by Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017. The CCC is composed of five commissioners, consisting of one appointee from the Governor, one from the Attorney General, one from the Treasurer, and two members that are agreed upon by the majority of these three constitutional officers.
This CCC is in charge of regulating the recreational cannabis industry.
Other than the commission, there’s also a Cannabis Advisory Board, which has 25 members. Five of them are appointees from the Governor, five from the Attorney General, and five from the Treasurer, while 10 are ex officio members who have knowledge and expertise that are relevant to the advistory board’s mission.
The members of the board are in charge of studying and making recommendations for the regulation and taxation of cannabis in Massachusetts.
Recreational cannabis sales is a game changer as it will bring hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue into state coffers. Equity is also a major factor of this work. We want to make sure minority-backed cannabis businesses get a fair chance. – Cannabis Advisory Board member Horace Small
Cannabis advocate and the Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Jim Borghesani told the Boston Herald that there will be a lot of interest in opening facilities and retail outlets in Massachusetts because New England states are small. According to Borghenasi, customers will be coming from the neighboring states because in Massachusetts, it is hard to be 20-30 miles from a state line. Massachusetts can be seen leading other New England states in terms of setting up a safer system of legal cannabis sales.
Cannabis Advisory Board member Horace Small believes that recreational cannabis sales is a game changer as it will bring hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue into state coffers.
Small adds that he wants to make sure minority-backed cannabis businesses get a fair chance. “Equity is a major factor of this work,” he said.