While Massachusetts struck an agreement to legalize recreational pot back in 2016, it appears that not all facets of the soon-to-be-legal industry will be ready in time for its introduction. The state can roll out its first dispensaries and retail stores as early as next month. However, there will be two glaring exceptions: weed deliveries and cannabis cafes.
When Will Weed Deliveries And Cannabis Cafes Come To Massachusetts?
Although the original 2016 ballot approved “cannabis cafes” and other on-site cannabis consumption locations, a March decision by the Cannabis Control Commission rendered that ballot moot. Under new regulations, the Commission will not license any social cannabis cafes. The same goes for any weed delivery services for at least a year.
The change of heart came after Massachusetts officials contended that introducing such establishments in the midst of a brand new industry, could prove difficult to manage. Especially considering the brand new set of regulations and laws regarding recreational use of the plant.
According to Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett, establishing a safely-regulated recreational marijuana is difficult enough. Adding public consumption locations would simply increase the degree of difficulty.
“We believe the difficulties of safely administering the adult use marijuana market in the near term will be multiplied by the proposed licensing of social consumption establishments, mixed-use social consumption establishments, and home delivery retail services,” Bennett wrote in a letter to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission back in February.
Massachusett’s Governor Charlie Baker brought up weed legal states like Colorado and Oregon as examples. He pointed out the difficulties they faced early in the process of legalization. Baker also believes having to regulate on-premise smoking could further clout the process.
“I think the experience coming out of both Colorado and Oregon has been this is a very tough industry to regulate straight out of the gate, and people should crawl before they walk, and walk before they run,” Baker said.
The States’ Concerns
There are multiple concerns involving the prevalence of cannabis cafes. One of the greatest concerns is that it would lead to more cases of driving under the influence of marijuana. Additionally, it could give minors increased access to the plant.
Much of the same concerns surround a weed delivery service. Canada, who is set to become just the second country to federally legalize cannabis, has also voiced their concerns about such a business model.
For now, it appears Massachusetts is long ways away from Amsterdam-styled cannabis cafes and delivery services. However, hope isn’t all gone. If the process of implementing their own recreational marijuana policy goes smoother than past states’, it could be sooner than we think.