Doorstep delivery of legal marijuana is soon set to become a reality in Massachusetts. The Cannabis Control Commission legalized home delivery of cannabis. These delivery services can now operate in Massachusetts following the regulations of the commission. The new framework also allows cafes where marijuana connoisseurs can smoke and vape.
Chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, Steven Hoffman, said that they had a balance between what the voters wanted, and the risks associated with marijuana from the perspective of public safety.
The vote tally was 4 to 1. Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan was the only one who did not support the move.
Flanagan believes that home delivery and social consumption of marijuana is being approved too early. She believes that the industry should be given the first priority. Her focus is to prioritize retail businesses, microbusinesses, and cultivation before allowing social consumption.
Flanagan also expressed concern on public health given the recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses. Massachusetts is already grappling with an opiate crisis. Individuals are addicted to narcotic painkillers.
Regulations reserve the licenses for the first two years. The priority would be social equity and empowerment of businesses owned by minorities, and people convicted of drugs. The two-year rule will also favor the people who have worked in marijuana-associated communities and have been affected by it.
Hoffmann commented that licenses for home delivery of marijuana could start being issued as early as two months after the application is developed. Entrepreneurs would have a stricter process. They would need to negotiate agreements with the community they intend to serve. After these agreements, they reach the state licensing process. A similar policy applies to current marijuana growers and retailers.
The queue of people and businesses applying for the licenses is long. Home delivery companies might benefit from advantages of skipping the line if their application benefits the focus categories for the two-year rule.
A dozen municipalities have agreed to participate in the pilot program which will allow social consumption of cannabis to begin. It may take time to achieve this because the legislatures need to pass the rules allowing social use. Only after their approval, the pilot program can begin.
Social consumption and home delivery licenses are priced equally at $1,500. The renewal fee is more than six times the amount, at – $10,000. The communities targeted for economic empowerment and social equity may have to pay a lesser fee, or it could be completely waived off.
Home delivery raises concerns of robbery of the substance and cash that the drivers are carrying. Some in law enforcement believe it is a tragedy waiting to happen.
Current Federal laws do not allow the purchase of cannabis using credit cards. Until those laws are changed, drivers remain at the risk of being robbed, Governor Charlie Baker argued. He expressed deep concern about the safety of the drivers.
The laws require that delivery drivers wear body cameras and all transactions are recorded. While it raises concerns about consumer privacy, the police believe it is necessary for tracking improper transactions and prevent crimes.