Recreational sales in Massachusetts have seen a number of delays since voters approved legalization back in 2016. But now, all those delays could be drawing to a close. The state’s Cannabis Control Commission recently completed a crucial step in the process of getting retail sales up and running. Now, it looks like Massachusetts recreational sales are set to begin in the next couple months.
Provisional Lab Licenses Have Been Issued
Toward the end of the last week, the Cannabis Control Commission issued provisional licenses to two independent testing labs.
CDX Analytics, located in Salem, and MCR Labs, in Framingham, received the licenses. Additionally, one other company called EVIO Labs Massachusetts applied to become a weed testing lab. According to local news sources, they have not yet received a license.
But the two labs that received provisional licenses last week are now on the verge of being able to start testing the state’s first batches of recreational weed.
From here, they need to complete a couple final steps. This includes:
- fingerprinting all workers;
- paying a licensing fee;
- registering a product-tracking system that meets state laws;
- giving the state any additional information not included on the first application.
Additionally, the labs must pass an inspection by Commission authorities. At this point, it’s unclear exactly what inspectors will be looking for. But the owners of CDX and MCR said they are confident the inspections will go well.
In particular, the labs are confident that they are already equipped to meet state standards. That’s because both labs already test medical marijuana. As such, they already meet a rigorous set of regulations.
In order to also begin testing weed for recreational sales, the labs had to submit a new application. Additionally, they had to make any changes or updates to testing protocols and equipment necessary to meet the laws for recreational weed.
But since both labs are already testing large amounts of cannabis, industry players and state authorities both anticipate a smooth transition from provisional licenses to full licenses. And as soon as that’s complete, the state can start moving weed through labs and onto the market.
Labs Expect To Have Full Licenses ASAP
This is a big step in the legalization process in Massachusetts. Previously, state authorities said that recreational sales would begin in July of this year. That deadline has come and gone, and still no recreational sales.
Many of the delays are due to the various stages of licensing that are necessary to get the legal weed industry on its feet. In particular, the state had to license companies to grow and produce cannabis and cannabis products. Similarly, the state had to do the same thing for retail dispensaries.
The state has already issued licenses to growers and sellers. But the lack of licensed labs created a huge bottleneck since state law requires all recreational weed to be inspected by an independent lab first.
Without any licensed labs, it was impossible to roll out recreational sales. But with provisional licenses now issued, many in the state are optimistic that retail sales will begin soon.
Theoretically, as soon as both labs receive full licenses and begin testing recreational products, sales can begin. And many in the state expect that to happen within the next few months.