It is unfortunate that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) postponed its vote a few weeks ago to expand delivery licenses to independent operators. Under the current law, delivery is allowed only for medical marijuana patients. For recreational use, however, delivery must be connected to an existing cannabis business, a la an “uberEats” style courier. This format has had the effect of allowing a few large companies to dominate the market and stifle competition.
The proposed expansion would allow two delivery licenses for the recreational use of cannabis. The first would be for marijuana operators who buy products wholesale from growers. The second license would allow the courier to charge a fee to make deliveries from retailers and dispensaries licensed by the state. Both delivery license formats are also reserved explicitly for participants in Massachusetts’ Social Equity or Economic Empowerment programs, designed to allow individuals from communities most harmed by a decades long drug war to benefit from the emergence of the new industry, for a period of three years.
On October 20, 2020, the CCC voted in favor of the new rules but a group of lawmakers from the legislature sought and received a delay in implementing the liberalized regulations. Ostensibly, the cities and towns want more time to voice concerns about the proposal. The Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) and Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA) contend that the expansion of delivery to independent operators conflicts with the current statutory framework that, they claim, only allows the marijuana retailer to deliver products to consumers.
The CCC is scheduled to vote on this proposal on November 30, 2020. It will be interesting to see whether the MMA, CDA and their allies in the legislature are interested in genuine discussion about public safety or whether this is a smoke screen to allow a few large operators dominate the recreational cannabis market.