Here's why Massachusetts retail marijuana shops may not open July 1 as planned
With two and a half weeks to go before legal marijuana shops were expected to open in Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission has not granted a single license.
“We’re going to get it right,” Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman said Thursday. “If that means we have few or no stores on July 1 and it takes a few more weeks, I hope and expect that everyone in the state believes it’s the right thing to do. We believe it’s the right thing to do.”
The commission opened the licensing application process for marijuana businesses on May 1 and June 1, depending on the type of business. State law gave the commission authority to begin issuing licenses June 1.
But the commission is still reviewing the applications.
Hoffman said the commission is “working as hard as we can,” and he expects licenses will be granted “shortly.”
He said the holdup is because the commission is waiting for background checks to be completed and for municipalities to confirm their support for applicants.
As of Wednesday, 53 applicants from 28 companies or individuals had submitted the entire application to open a marijuana business.
The applicants include 18 marijuana cultivators, 17 retailers and 12 product manufacturers, plus a handful of transportation, research and microbusiness applicants.
Hoffman has said in the past that he believes the Massachusetts marijuana industry will be “sparse” come July.
Industry experts have said it will take time for the industry to ramp up, since cultivators need time to grow enough marijuana to meet the demand.
Hoffman noted that having retail stores open July 1 has always been a goal, not a legislative mandate.
He said other states that rushed to meet an “arbitrary deadline” ended up with no