“More About Marijuana” Campaign Moves Forward with Website Redesign, Meeting Additional Legislative Mandates

Cannabis Control Commission To Open State Certification Process for Responsible Vendor Trainers July 17

Draft Regulations Proposing Changes to Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Programs Now Available, Open to Public Comment

Public comment on draft regulations will be accepted through August 15*

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 2, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891; cnbpress@state.ma.us

BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) today filed with the Secretary of State’s Regulation Division draft changes to Massachusetts’ adult use and medical use of cannabis regulations. Copies of the filings are available for download at MassCannabisControl.com/Documents/.

Public hearings on the drafts will be held next month and a public comment period will be open through August 15.* Please note the updated public comment period is the result of a scheduling change for the related public hearings, which will be held:

• Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 10 a.m.
Health Policy Commission
50 Milk Street, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02110

• Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 10 a.m.
Western New England University School of Law
Moot Court Room
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119

Residents may view the Notice of Public Hearing and Comment and email public comments on the drafts to CannabisCommission@mass.gov.

After August 15, the Commission will reconvene to consider the public’s feedback and vote again on the final changes before new regulations are promulgated by the Secretary. The proposed revisions are based upon several public policy meetings and include new license types as well as unified application, enforcement, and administrative processes for the adult and medical use programs. In addition to adjusting fees, the Commission has agreed to eliminate annual registration fees for patients.

For a summary of other policy changes, visit MassCannabisControl.com. Video recordings of the Commission’s previous public policy discussions regarding the draft regulations are available on Facebook and YouTube.

For more information, contact the Commission at 617-701-8400, email the Commission at CannabisCommission@mass.gov, or follow the Commission on Twitter.

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Cannabis Control Commission Unanimously Approves Draft Regulations Proposing Changes to Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Programs

Public comment on proposed policy changes will be accepted through August 16

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 3, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891; cnbpress@state.ma.us

BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) on Thursday unanimously approved changes to Massachusetts’ adult use and medical use of cannabis regulations based upon policies they agreed to over several days of public meetings. Revisions include new license types as well as unified application, enforcement, and administrative processes for the adult- and medical-use programs. In addition to adjusting fees, the Commission agreed to eliminate annual registration fees for patients.

“Commissioners and staff have worked diligently to revise our regulatory structure in a way that brings parity to the adult- and medical-use cannabis programs, increases equity and participation in the legal marketplace, ensures licensee compliance with ownership and control limits, and enhances the health and safety of Marijuana Establishment patrons and patients,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “Now the public has the opportunity to grapple with some of the complex issues we have considered as we continue working together to build a safer, more equitable, and more effective industry in Massachusetts.”

The draft regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s Regulation Division and published on the Commission’s website. Public hearings on the drafts will be held in August and a public comment period will be open through August 16. After that, the Commission will reconvene to consider the public’s feedback and vote on the final changes before new regulations are promulgated by the Secretary of State. Some of the proposed policy changes embedded in the drafts include:

Social Consumption Pilot Program
• Under the adult-use cannabis program, up to 12 communities across the state would be authorized to host Marijuana Establishments (MEs) in which adults ages 21 and older could consume cannabis on site.
• Licenses for primary-use locations, sometimes referred to as cannabis cafes, would be exclusively available to licensed Microbusinesses, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants, and Social Equity Program Participants for an initial period of two years.
• The Commission will collect and report on data measuring certain criteria to determine whether goals of the exclusivity period are met prior to making the license type available to general applicants.
• Despite any regulatory changes, the pilot program is unable to begin without a change in state law that first allows cities and towns to authorize social consumption in their communities.

Delivery Licenses
• Under the adult-use cannabis program, a Delivery-Only license type would be created exclusively for certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and Social Equity Program Participants for an initial period of two years.
• Adult-use delivery businesses will be required to obtain marijuana and marijuana products from other licensed marijuana retailers.
• Delivery for adult-use consumers would be restricted to residential addresses and municipalities in which retail sales are permitted. They would be prohibited from dormitories and other university housing, commercial hospitality operations including hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, and federally subsidized housing.
• To ensure marijuana products are distributed to consumers of legal age and correct identity, adult consumers who choose to utilize delivery services will first need to pre-verify their age and identity through the Marijuana Retailer from which they intend to order products.
• Medical-use deliveries would only be prohibited from dormitories and other university housing and federally subsidized housing, but patients would not need to pre-verify through a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC).
• To maximize the safety and security of delivery drivers, consumers, and patients, regulations for both the proposed adult-use delivery program and the existing medical use of marijuana program have been developed consistent with retail operation safety protocols including the use of vehicle cameras for all deliveries, and body cameras for adult-use deliveries.

Ownership and Control
• To add protections around the statutory limitations regarding ownership and control, MTC and ME applicants will need to proactively submit management contracts and similar materials as part of their application.
• To enhance background checks and investigations into owners, persons or entities having direct control, and close associates of a license, the draft regulations clarify definitions under both the medical- and adult-use cannabis programs.
• Consequences have been strengthened for any persons or entities that violate license limits through enforcement mechanisms such as licensure denial, revocation of a license, and denial of a license renewal.

Fees
• To recoup licensing and inspectional costs and bring the adult-use cannabis industry in line with the medical-use industry, license and application fees would increase under the draft regulations for larger Cultivators (20,001-100,000 square feet of canopy), as well as Retailers, Product Manufacturers, Independent Testing Laboratories, and Transporters with an Existing License.
• To maintain low barriers to entry for small Cultivators (up to 20,000 square feet of canopy), Microbusinesses, Third-Party Transporters, and Research Facilities, annual license fees would not change under the draft regulations.
• To bring parity to the medical- and adult-use application processes, the draft regulations develop new application fees for vertically integrated MTCs that are more in line with the application fees for adult-use Retailers, Product Manufacturers, and Cultivators.
• As part of the Commission’s ongoing support of farmers and environmentally conscious operations, reduced fees would continue for smaller outdoor Cultivators.
• Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and Social Equity Program Participants would have application fees waived and annual license fees reduced.
• For certified patients who register for access to medical marijuana, the Commission would eliminate the $50 annual patient registration fee.

Removal of Product
• The draft regulations enable the Commission to order a product or product line that presents substantial risks to health, safety, and welfare to be removed from all licensees’ shelves or prohibited from sale following an informal hearing process and Commission consideration.
Video recordings of the Commission’s previous public policy discussions regarding the draft regulations are available on Facebook and YouTube.

For more information, contact the Commission at 617-701-8400, email the Commission at CannabisCommission@mass.gov, or follow the Commission on Twitter.

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Initial Access Certification Will Become Available July 1 to Qualifying Patients and Personal Caregivers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 24, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891; cnbpress@state.ma.us

Initial Access Certification Will Become Available July 1 to Qualifying Patients and Personal Caregivers

BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) today announced that Initial Access Certification will become available to qualifying patients and personal caregivers on Monday, July 1. With the help of a clinician, the new process will enable immediate entry to a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC) – commonly referred to as a Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) – and allow patients to obtain medical-use marijuana prior to being issued an annual registration card.

“Since the Commission assumed oversight of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program six months ago, our focus has been on maintaining continuous, high-quality care for qualifying patients,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “I am pleased the new Initial Access Certification process will address enduring concerns about administrative wait times while also enhancing patient and caregiver experience.”

Patients and caregivers who utilize Initial Access Certification will be permitted to enter an MTC once they receive a temporary registration document from the Commission. Once registered, Initial Access Certification will allow patients to be dispensed a limited, 14-day supply of medical-use marijuana, which the Commission has determined is 2.5 ounces, for two weeks. The patient’s clinician – who may include a certifying physician, a certifying certified nurse practitioner, or a certifying physician assistant who is registered in the Program – may determine and certify a patient requires a different amount.

Those who receive Initial Access Certification will still need to complete the traditional registration process through the Commission’s Online System in order to be issued an annual patient registration card. The temporary registration will expire either 14 days after issuance or when the recipient is approved for an annual registration card from the Commission.

Patients and caregivers will be limited to one temporary registration during any 365-day period unless otherwise approved by the Commission. Patients and caregivers must remain in compliance with the medical use of marijuana regulations in order to receive an annual registration card.

The Commission has posted information that patients, caregivers, clinicians, and MTCs should know about the Initial Access Certification process at Mass.gov/MedicalMarijuana.

For additional information regarding patient registration, please contact the Commission at MedicalMarijuana@State.MA.US or call (833) 869-6820.

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Social Equity Program Participants Receive Introductory Training for Entering the Adult-Use Cannabis Industry in Massachusetts

Cannabis Control Commission seminar features sessions on business planning, networking, and licensing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 3, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891; cnbpress@state.ma.us

BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) held a kick-off seminar for accepted applicants of the nation’s first statewide Social Equity Program in Worcester on Saturday, June 1, 2019. The daylong event at Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Visitors’ Center drew 17 attendees who gained insight into the state’s licensing process and regulations and honed skills for business planning and networking in the Massachusetts cannabis industry.

An additional session is scheduled later this month in Greater Boston for a second cohort of accepted Social Equity Program applicants. Interested individuals should finalize and submit their application for the program by June 6 to be considered for participation. Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis through MassCIPortal.com.

The Commission launched the Social Equity Program in accordance with a state mandate that requires full participation in the regulated marketplace by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition. Participants who meet one or more of the following criteria were eligible to attend the Saturday kick-off and will receive additional training in the future:

• They have resided in a Commission-designated area of disproportionate impact for at least five of the past 10 years and their current income does not exceed 400% of federal poverty level; or
• They have a past drug conviction and have been a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months; or
• They have been married to, or are the child of, a person with a drug conviction and have been a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months.

Commissioners and staff led the first session with an overview of the state’s licensing process and regulations as well as a workshop on business planning. A panel of industry representatives also shared their experiences working and networking in the Massachusetts marketplace.

In the coming months, Social Equity Program participants will receive additional technical assistance, training, and mentoring from vendors who have applied to provide coaching in the following areas:

• Accounting and sales forecasting;
• Farming best practices;
• Raising funds or capital;
• Navigation of municipal processes;
• Tax prediction and legal compliance and more.

Participant-specific courses will be shaped by four teaching tracks:
• Entrepreneur (those seeking licensure and ownership);
• Core (those interested in cannabis careers at the managerial and executive level);
• Re-Entry and Entry (those seeking entry level positions in marijuana establishments, re-entering society, or entering the workforce with 0-2 years of experience); and
• Ancillary (those with existing skills directly transferable to supporting cannabis businesses).

In addition to exclusive educational opportunities, Social Equity Program participants are eligible for certain fee waivers when they apply for a marijuana establishment license.

“The Commission is dedicated to helping the individuals and families hurt most by the War on the Drugs achieve full participation in the legal adult-use industry, in accordance with state law,” Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “Our first seminar demonstrated the wealth of untapped talent in Massachusetts that is working tirelessly to own, run, and support cannabis businesses. As they move forward with the Social Equity Program, we hope Saturday’s session provided a strong foundation for many more applicants to accomplish their goals.”

For more information about the program, contact the Commission’s Director of Community Outreach Shekia Scott at 617-701-8400 or CannabisEquity@mass.gov, visit MassCannabisControl.com/EquityPrograms, or follow the Commission on Facebook and Twitter.

Accepted applicants of the Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Program participated in a seminar at Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Visitors’ Center in Worcester on Saturday. Also pictured: Cannabis Control Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins, Director of Community Outreach Shekia Scott, and Commissioner Shaleen Title.

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Cannabis Control Commission Votes in Favor of Social Consumption Pilot Program in Third Day of Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Policy Discussions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 16, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891; cnbpress@state.ma.us

Cannabis Control Commission Votes in Favor of Social Consumption Pilot Program in Third Day of Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Policy Discussions

Proposal would give Microbusinesses, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, Economic Empowerment Applicants, Social Equity Applicants two years of license exclusivity in 12 municipalities

BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) concluded its third and final day of policy discussions on Thursday regarding potential changes to the medical use and adult use of cannabis regulations in Massachusetts. As part of an ongoing process to draft revisions this spring, Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a proposal that would launch a future social consumption pilot program in Massachusetts.

Under the pilot, a limited number of communities across the state would be authorized to host marijuana establishments in which adults ages 21 and older could consume cannabis on site. Licenses for primary-use locations and events sanctioned by a municipality would be exclusively available to licensed Microbusinesses and Craft Marijuana Cooperatives as well as certified Economic Empowerment Applicants and Social Equity Applicants for an initial period of two years.

All regulatory changes, including the pilot proposal, must be voted on by Commissioners at another public meeting slated May 30, then undergo a public comment period and receive final Commission approval before they are promulgated by the Secretary of State. Despite Thursday’s vote, the Commission acknowledged the pilot program would not be able to begin without a change in state law or the passage of legislation that will first allow cities and towns to authorize social consumption in their communities.

Once that happens, the pilot would permit licensees to operate in up to 12 municipalities statewide. North Adams, Amherst, Springfield, Provincetown, and Somerville, which participated in a Commission-led working group on social consumption, would be among those able to opt-in to participate. The policy discussions Thursday stemmed from a memorandum produced by working group members.

Chairman Steven J. Hoffman and Commissioner Shaleen Title, as well as local administrators, councilors, health and human service officials, and a municipal planner reviewed policies in other states as well as feedback from the Cannabis Advisory Board, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Commission staff. Key issues they considered included the prevention of underage access, impairment detection by servers, serving sizes on edible marijuana products, and impaired driving.

The working group also recommends that smoking only be permitted outdoors – away from doors, windows, and ventilators – and if the locality finds it compatible with surrounding uses. Indoor vaping would be permitted if a ventilation system is utilized that removes vapor and odor. Once social consumption is approved, the host municipality would have the authority to cap the number of licensed marijuana establishments or events it allows.

For more information about social consumption or the Commission’s ongoing regulatory process, call (617)-701-8400, email CannabisCommission@mass.gov or follow the Commission on Facebook and Twitter.