Massachusetts Will Get Fewer Than 12 Dispensaries When Recreational Marijuana Legalization Begins

The state of Massachusetts is launching recreational marijuana sales in July, which is a cause for celebration for many. But you may want to wait a few months before you buy into the hype.

A new report from the Boston Globe says that many marijuana industry experts are predicting a slow rollout of recreational sales this summer. In fact, some experts believe there will be fewer than 12 licensed recreational dispensaries open this July. 

“We’re just at the starting line,” said David Torrisi, the president of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association. “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 biggest issue is reluctance from local government. About two-thirds of towns and cities in Massachusetts have banned recreational sales. The cities that will allow recreational sales are also putting up restrictive policies and regulations that are making it difficult for dispensaries to ensure compliance. Some are even demanding cannabis companies make large payments to local government to get an agreement to operate, which is possibly against state law that says towns can't charge more than three percent of a dispensary's revenue.

Many of these policies go against state regulations. Massachusetts is making a strong effort to get minority and low-income individuals involved in the newly legal cannabis industry, but cities are imposing restrictions and placing higher barriers of entry making many of the state's policies irrelevant.

In addition to government interference, local businesses are reluctant to take part as well. Banks are hesitant to help out, which has been a problem in other states. And landlords are also imposing barriers as well.

All this is to say that come this July, don't be surprised to hear complaints about limited legal cannabis supply in Massachusetts.

(h/t Boston Globe)

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