Massachusetts' top public safety official worried about marijuana cafes, theaters
BOSTON — Allowing social consumption of marijuana in cafes, theaters or yoga studios will make it more likely for people to drive while on drugs and for minors to access marijuana, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett has told the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
“We believe the difficulties of safely administering the adult use marijuana market in the near term will be multiplied by the proposed licensing of social consumption establishments, mixed-use social consumption establishments, and home delivery retail services,” Bennett wrote in a letter to the commission.
Gov. Charlie Baker and members of his administration have been pushing back against the marijuana oversight board’s decision to allow consumption of marijuana at businesses, like cafes or movie theaters.
Proponents of social consumption say it will provide a space to consume marijuana for people who live in public housing or in rented apartments where marijuana is not allowed. But opponents say the commission is going too far too fast.
“I think the experience coming out of both Colorado and Oregon has been this is a very tough industry to regulate straight out of the gate, and people should crawl before they walk, and walk before they run,” Baker said Monday.
The Cannabis Control Commission is in the process of writing regulations for the legal marijuana industry.
Already, the legal counsel in Baker’s budget agency and the state environmental agency have weighed in against allowing social consumption immediately.
On Monday, Bennett submitted a letter to the Cannabis Control Commission expressing concerns about the public safety risks of legalized marijuana.
Bennett worried that if people are allowed to consume marijuana in a public, social space and the regulations prohibit them from taking marijuana off-site, there will be an increase in people driving while under the influence of marijuana. Police today do