Week in Review: Massachusetts recreational marijuana delay, Arkansas' MMJ growers & hemp victory
Massachusetts defers recreational marijuana delivery and onsite consumption, Arkansas approves five medical cannabis cultivators, and Washington state grants its floundering hemp program a reprieve.
Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.
An ‘elegant’ solution
The decision by Massachusetts regulators to delay licensing for stand-alone marijuana delivery services and onsite consumption businesses drew criticism from some cannabis proponents.
Specifically, critics said the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) caved under pressure from opponents who wanted a delay.
“This is a very elegant way for the CCC to meet the demands of a lot of different groups,” said Shanel Lindsay, a member of the Cannabis Advisory Board, which advises the commission.
Industry diversity advocates like Lindsay view delivery and onsite consumption licenses as a way to bring minorities into the sector because those businesses are less expensive and don’t necessarily require investor backing.
That’s why such provisions were written into the recreational cannabis referendum that voters passed in 2016.
“When we were drafting Question 4,” Lindsay said of the adult-use measure, “we specifically drafted this law to correct the problem we saw on the medical side. … There were no small businesses or people of color involved.”
There was such a clamor from high-ranking state officials and groups like the Commonwealth Dispensary Association to defer delivery and onsite consumption licenses that diversity advocates worried the permits would be delayed indefinitely and unconditionally.
And that would have effectively shut an important door on minority participation in the industry.
But the commission reached a compromise under which it agreed to:
Draft delivery and onsite consumption rules within one year. Create an initial time period when those licenses will go only to people