Editorial: Don't rush pot shops
It’s time to admit Massachusetts is not ready for legal weed.
State regulators said late last week it is still unclear when they will approve the first cannabis licenses.
July 1 was the target date for everyone to light up their new pot shops, but why the rush? This isn’t “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steve Hoffman said they won’t OK pot licenses “until we have the information that we need from our security background-check company, as well as cities and towns.”
Exactly. Slow down and do it right.
Just look at how the Massachusetts Gaming Commission fumbled the scrubbing of Steve Wynn. That turned out to be a complete embarrassment resulting in name changes, lawsuits and bad vibes for an industry that was already carrying too much baggage.
Now we’re dealing with THC levels, stoned drivers and underage access to pot.
“Other states that rushed in on an arbitrary deadline ended up with no inventory in some cases, ended up with no licenses in place, no background checks being done,” Hoffman said.
The lack of inventory shouldn’t be the main concern, the background checks should be.
“We are going to get it right,” Hoffman added last week. “If that means we have few or no stores on July 1 and it takes a few more weeks, I hope and expect that everybody in the state believes it’s the right thing to do.”
In Colorado, 51 deaths were linked to pot in 2016.
A recent poll showed 69 percent of Rocky Mountain State drivers admitted to driving after smoking pot in the last year. That’s worrisome. Plus, nobody has cornered the market yet on measuring who’s high and who’s not on the highways.
Basically, pot smokers can tool around town with impunity.