Citizens of Massachusetts may soon be able to reclaim their option to order recreational marijuana via delivery amid COVID-19 pandemic following the announcement made by the Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday. According to the office, license applications for “prospective delivery-only marijuana establishments and certain microbusinesses seeking delivery endorsements” will soon be available on May 28, 2020.
The announcement, which suggests possible resumption of marijuana delivery services in the state soon, comes nearly two months since recreational marijuana shops in the state had been forced to close due to coronavirus outbreak.
Marijuana Delivery in Massachusetts
Originally, in September last year, Massachusetts regulators had voted to allow recreational cannabis shops to offer home delivery services within the state. Under the approved regulation, those who wish to apply for the delivery permit will need to pay a $1,500 application fee and a charge of $10,000 to renew the license annually. In addition to that, drivers of the services will also be required to wear body cameras to record all transactions when making their deliveries.
At the time, Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman described the passing of the new regulation to be “a good balance between trying to meet the will of the voters but recognizing that there are concerns from a public health and a public safety standpoint.”
However, only months after the measure had been approved, recreational marijuana shops in the state had been forced to close as early as March 24, 2020. The forced shutdown was driven by the ruling that, unlike medical marijuana dispensaries, recreational cannabis shops were not deemed to be essential businesses by the state. The decision sparked negative reactions from recreational cannabis sellers, who viewed the verdict to be biased and unjust.
“It is unfair that Massachusetts adult-use operators are the only ones that are shut down across the country and are not eligible for any kind of federal assistance,” Hoffman commented on a meeting last week, insisting that recreational businesses be allowed to re-open. “I have no concerns whatsoever that we can operate this business safely. I think we’ve demonstrated that we can do so on the medical side of the business… [and] I think there’s absolutely no reason we can’t do exactly the same thing on the adult-use side.”
According to CCC, applications for third-party delivery licenses will be available through its online portal on the promised date (May 28). However, as part of the process, the commission said it will require applicants to provide detail about their business, plans, and procedures in order to obtain “pre-certification.”
As part of the agency’s effort, Hoffman and CCC commissioner Shaleen Title said they support the legislation proposed by state Senator Diana DiZoglio, which offers cash payments to companies that are unqualified for federal relief, including cannabis dispensaries.
“We’re doing everything we can to provide economic relief,” Title expressed. “But the most straightforward form of economic relief is for these businesses to just be able to open again.”