We're only a few days away from Massachusetts hitting the three week mark of recreational marijuana legalization, and yet for anyone actually living in the state, it probably seems like nothing's changed.
Massachusetts still has zero recreational marijuana dispensaries open 19 days into legalization. Cultivate, the first cannabis company to receive a license to open a dispensary, says they aren't putting a timeline on when they'll officially open. While they received a license to open a dispensary earlier this month, they didn't receive a license to grow their own recreational cannabis until last last Thursday. And the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission says they probably won't license the state's first recreational marijuana testing facility until late July, which means other dispensary licenses may not be given out until August.
The question is why the delay. The commission has given out five licenses, says they're reviewing 29 applications and 39 others are in waiting for review. While it may be easy to blame the commission for dragging its feet, the state is putting the blame on local communities. Around 200 local governments in Massachusetts have instituted bans, either permanent or temporary, on recreational marijuana sales.
And even the local governments that allow sales have been slow to send in the necessary paperwork to the state that's required to officially license some legal dispensaries. Recreational marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts need to obtain "host agreements" in order to receive their state license. But some local governments are refusing to make these agreements unless the cannabis company agrees to huge fees or concessions in return.
So if you're in Massachusetts and you're getting impatient about finally receiving access to legal cannabis, you should probably talk to your local government because they're the ones holding it up.