Things have been a bit unclear in Massachusetts when it comes to getting their newly legal cannabis industry up and running. Sadly there have been quite a few delays since the start of the legislative session. One of the first acts from lawmakers was to push the deadline for licensing retail shops back six months from January 2018 to July 2018. Since then things have not progressed much, if at all really.
The delays only continue to pile up…
Back in the end of March Treasurer Deb Goldberg requested $500,000 in order to get the Cannabis Control Commission started. At the time lawmakers instead approved $300,000. The funds were sent to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, instead of straight to the treasurer’s office.
Almost two months later the funds have still not been released to the treasurer’s office. The Executive Office had assured Goldberg that they would work with her office to do so back in March. This was after Goldberg had written a letter expressing her concerns and citing the need to get things together quickly. Even now, they maintain that they will release the funds, but have not said when that may actually happen.
“The Executive Office for Administration and Finance will carefully administer the reserve funds and work with all parties involved to ensure the law is implemented responsibly,” Sarah Finlaw, spokeswoman for the Executive Office, said in a statement.
So where do we go from here?
Massachusetts lawmakers have been back and forth when it comes to who will be overseeing the new cannabis industry. The law passed by voters leaves this to the yet to be appointed Cannabis Control Commission who would answer to the treasurer’s office. However, lawmakers are looking at the idea of separating it all together.
They have now formed The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy. The committee is expected to unveil a new bill in June. The bill will decide whether or not the Commission will remain in charge of the new industry.
Will Massachusetts Meet their Summer 2018 Deadline?
For now, it seems that sticking to the timeline set for them is not a top priority compared to getting things right the first time. If they do have a new bill ready by June, there is a chance things can start to run smoothly. At this point, they are still aiming to have the first licenses approved by July 2018.
“While some may be worried about such timelines, getting the regulatory structure right is and will continue to be more important,” Cusack wrote.