There’s finally a scheduled retail mark in the Bay State for the weed industry. Massachusetts will start selling recreational weed by July 2018, according to recent reports. But will this deadline actually be met? While officials are hopeful, the question of timeliness remains.
Recreational Cannabis Comes to the Bay State
“My understanding is that it is an expectation, but not explicitly part of the law, that retail establishments open July 1 of 2018 and that’s our intent at this point,” said Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman to reporters earlier on Wednesday about the matter.
Hoffman, a former business executive, met with members of the press to outline the commission’s four-point plan to implement the sale of recreational weed by the proposed deadline. While hopeful, he also remained a realist.
“If the reality is it can’t be done, it can’t be done,” he added. “But I don’t accept that right now.”
Hoffman’s consternation is understandable. While weed was decriminalized in Massachusetts years ago, the process of cannabis legalization in the state has been a bit more complicated.
Lawmakers in the crown jewel of New England voted for legalization last year, making it the first state to do so, but particularities have delayed the weed-related roll-out.
So what exactly caused these delays in the first place? A delay made in December by the self-same lawmakers who put the legalization bill through. And it was all to make sure to have their pieces in place, unlike states like Nevada, where a rushed legalization process created a certifiable, state emergency-mandated weed drought.
Final Hit: Massachusetts Will Start Selling Recreational Weed By July 2018
As per the state’s Cannabis Commission, lawmakers plan on having basic regulations set by March 2018. In addition to this, the commission plans to begin accepting retail and dispensary licenses the following month.
In the end, it all depends on funding. While the Cannabis Commission has been given a budget of roughly $2.3 million, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg estimates that they’ll need at least $10 million to get the ball rolling on the newly-minted Massachusetts cannabis industry.
And ultimately, to solidify that Massachusetts will start selling recreational weed by July 2018. “We have the resources to get started. I will reserve comment on whether those are adequate to get us to the finish line but we certainly have the resources to get started,” Hoffman concluded.
“For each of the pieces that we have to implement, we’ll figure out exactly what is needed in terms of resources, timing, personnel, put it all together as a plan and if the current funding is inadequate, as I suspect it will be, we’ll go to the Legislature, go through our plan and say here is what we need.”
As to whether these allocated resources will come through? Unfortunately, that remains to be seen—and only time will tell.