Legal, lab-tested and affordable marijuana will soon be available in the comfort of your home if you live in Massachusetts.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) voted on Sept. 24, 2019 to approve regulations allowing home delivery services to operate legally within the state where cannabis has been legal since November 2016.
The rules will also allow for public consumption in canna cafes, where people can gather to eat, smoke or vape.
CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said that he believes that the regulations governing the cannabis delivery services and cafes take the interests of various stakeholders into account.
“We feel like we have got 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,” Hoffman told MassLive.
The vote was 4-1, with CCC Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan, oddly, being the only dissenting vote.
Flanagan believes it’s too soon to allow social, or public, consumption and home delivery. “I think we need to stand up this industry, making sure the retail and cultivation and microbusinesses all get priority before we start to do home delivery and social consumption.”
Concerned about public health, the commissioner noted that Massachusetts has an opioid addiction problem and is now dealing with vaping-related illnesses.
MMJ as Alternative to Opioids
Quite a few legal medical marijuana states have recommended medicinal cannabis as an alternative treatment for pain instead of pharmaceutical drugs that contribute opioid addiction.
Some studies showed that the number of opioid prescriptions filled under Medicare Part D fell when medical marijuana laws went into effect, as did opioid addictions.
Social Equity Applicants Prioritized
For the first two years, according to rules approved by the CCC, pot delivery services and cannabis café licenses will be reserved for applicants who qualify as social equity and economic empowerment applicants.
That group includes businesses owned by minorities and “demographic populations, particularly Blacks and Latinos, that have been disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration for cannabis and other drug crimes as a result of state and federal drug policy.”
Shaleen Title, drug policy activist and attorney who serves as one of the five commissioners on the CCC, has been a strong proponent of the social equity initiatives.
“I’m proud of implementing the will of the voters, who are clear that they wanted to see an industry that’s fair, that’s equitable, and that has room for small businesses and isn’t going to be dominated by big conglomerates,” Title said. “And I think that we made a lot of progress towards that today.”