Following the news about dispensaries suing the state board over violation of state laws, the cannabis trade group decided to drop the lawsuit after several members ended the involvement with the group.
The Cannabis Dispensary Association (CDA) officially dropped the lawsuit claiming that the decision is in the ‘best interest of the industry’ and its members. The association, which represents the physical marijuana stores and retailers, has been targeting the state board due to the decision to allow disenfranchised groups to deliver cannabis products for the first three years.
CDA claims this decision violates the license regulation for recreational marijuana delivery. Massachusetts has two types of licenses available, one for delivery companies to purchase products from warehouses, and two, for individuals to partner with shops. These licenses are granted for applicants of two equity programs—economic empowerment and social equity programs.
Granted the license, businesses can deliver cannabis products for a period of three years. This move was lauded by advocates, citing an entryway for small businesses and minority companies. At the time of the global pandemic, this licenses can help give opportunities to as many startups as possible, giving everyone a chance to participate in the cannabis market.
Meanwhile, the licensing program has completed 53 out of the 986 applicants as of Jan. 14, under the economic empowerment program. There’s another 76 applications for the social equity participants, especially designed for individuals who were harmed by the war on drugs.
CDA argues that the new regulations harmed the existing retail licenses, which means the state board violates its own statue. In the filed lawsuit on Jan. 13, the association specifically mentioned how retailers have an entity to purchase and delivery marijuana and marijuana products from marijuana establishments and to deliver, sell, or otherwise transfer marijuana and marijuana products to marijuana establishments and to customers.
This only means that the state board needs a review and backtrack on its own regulations regarding the licenses to deliver and purchase cannabis products. CDA also cited that the commission ‘didn’t have the authority to enact new regulations’ following the November vote. It says that after the regulations were approved, the commission only has four members, in the event that commissioner Kay Doyle got out of post.
Commissioner Shaleen Title’s term also ended at August 31, yet she remained in the state officials appointed at the new commissioner seat. CDA argued that the state law doesn’t permit holdover on a position to vote in behalf of its members.
The CCC seems to have ‘overstepped’ its authority and even disregarded the existing laws, upending the established rules. With this, small businesses suffer and the host of communities they serve are affected by the sudden change of rules in the state.
There’s also a movement that aims to boycott all dispensaries who will not oppose the CDA’s lawsuit. The Cannaclusive organization supports the diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry and started the campaign to boycott did not oppose to the lawsuit.
Following this movement, several members of the CDA decided to withdraw from the association. This includes Parallel-owned New England Treatment Access (NETA), Garden Remedies, In Good Health, Cultivate, Sira Naturals, and Mayflower Medicinals.
Parallel director Kim Napoli said they won’t party in any associations that create conflict with the business goals and values, and that is what the lawsuit is going for. Other members distancing from the CDA are extremely disappointed to how the association handles the litigation.
TILT Holdings also expressed disappointment to how CDA acted on the issue, saying they have requested for the association to drop the lawsuit. Instead, they propose to reengage in various stakeholders and target the consequences linked to the current draft, as well as the involved parties. This could benefit the association in the end, with the help of an open dialogue.
What the CDA is doing is to make the state board realize how it destroys the fairness in delivering cannabis products. The association wrote that it has made a difficult decision to file a lawsuit, but this was caused by the numerous concerns over the regulatory changes in the industry.
Additionally, the association is drawing the line between what’s acceptable and not. As there are no limits on how many vehicles a wholesale delivery license can operate, this could lead to undermining the brick and mortar retail industry, plus the small delivery operators. This is in case Amazon decides to scale the operation with as many delivery trucks it operates.
Now that the association decided to withdraw the lawsuit, it’s not clear whether the cannabis companies that exited will come back. Trulieve, one of the parties who withdrawn from CDA, said it ‘applauded’ the association’s decision but plans to no longer maintain its membership
Others also expressed decision to move forward from then on, and to work with partners to have a collaborative conversation with the parties involved in the delivery licenses in Massachusetts state.
Diversity and Opportunities
CDA said in its statement that it will support the goal of diversifying the ownership and wealth distribution opportunities in the state. It’s also looking ahead of partnering with organizations that share the same vision and to work with the Massachusetts Cannabis Association for Delivery (MCAD) and find a common ground to build a world-class industry in the state.
The association views the decision as part of its initiative to motivate partner organizations to work together for a positive change in the marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, the lawmakers decided to approve a resolution that would decriminalize a wide range of psychedelics. This is a huge deal as to reform laws on entheogenic plants and fungi. The 9-0 vote was made possible by two people claiming personal experience that benefited through the use of psychedelics. The use is purely therapeutic, and the council mentioned how this substance can have a potential medical value concerning to mental health. The resolution was supported by the Mayor.