Mass. Rec Cannabis Expected to Have a Slow Start This Summer
Massachusetts recreational cannabis sales are expected to begin in July, but that does not mean business will be booming—at least not initially.
While the recreational cannabis market is expected to be worth $1 billion in Massachusetts by 2020, members of the industry expect less than 12 shops to be operational in July.
There are several obstacles in the way for operators including local restrictions on dispensaries and grow facilities as well as reluctant landlords not willing to lease space to cannabis businesses.
“We’re just at the starting line,” said David Torrisi, the president of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA). “It’s going to take 18 to 24 months until there’s a robust retail marketplace. People who want to get into this industry need to be in it for the long haul because it’s going to be a slog getting it established.”
The Commonon Wealth Dispensary Association is expected to be among the first businesses to receive a license this summer.
Torrisi feels that local bans are the largest obstacle for businesses trying to enter the legal cannabis market. Approximately two-thirds of Massachusetts’ 351 municipalities have outright banned cannabis businesses. As for the remaining third, not all have exactly welcomed the industry with open arms. Many are only approving a small number of businesses.
“A lot of towns really don’t want us,” said Colonel Boothe, the chief financial officer of Holistic Health Group Inc., which is seeking to open dispensaries in Worcester and other communities. “The vote [to legalize marijuana] was well over a year ago, and they still haven’t finalized their [zoning] bylaws. It’s as if they don’t want it to happen. We’re sitting here waiting and waiting.”
Some local officials are asking for large payments before they will sign off on “host community agreements”—a requirement before