Marijuana Lawyering in Massachusetts: Perspective from Foley Hoag's Kevin Conroy
Massachusetts is about to join the still-exclusive club of states with authorized recreational marijuana sales. Retail sales are targeted to start on July 1. But will they? Regulators are still processing license applications, and while they’re optimistic, there are no guarantees all the paperwork will be in order by the end of the month.
Kevin Conroy, Boston-based co-chair of Foley Hoag‘s marijuana group recently spoke with me about what’s going on in the Bay State.
NLJ: Give us a prediction. What is the recreational marijuana retail scene going to look like on July 1? Lines at the door or no doors open yet?
Conroy: I expect that a handful of previously medical-only cannabis dispensaries that are awarded adult use licenses will be dispensing both adult use and medical cannabis on July 1 or shortly thereafter. The lines will be very long.
I also expect that the few adult-use dispensaries that open will likely run out of the recreational product in the first few days. Over the summer and into the fall, more adult use dispensaries will open, including some that were not previously medical dispensaries, but there will be consumer frustration for at least the first six months because the dispensaries will not have enough adult use product to meet the demand.
Are there any features in Massachusetts’ recreational regulatory scheme that distinguish the Bay State’s system from those of other states?
Our legislature and Cannabis Control Commission have emphasized aiding those communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs in the application process and ensuring that there is a diverse applicant pool. This has meant that all applicants (no matter their proposed location) need to have a plan for how they will positively impact disproportionately affected communities.
It has also meant that