The projected date of July 1, 2018 for Massachusetts to open cannabis retail stores for the recreational community is not happening. This puts a damper not only on potential imbibers, but also those who have been waiting to open up for business.
Independent testing laboratories to apply for licenses and for them to be approved by the Cannabis Control Commission is still mired in red tape. Any and all applications for such labs are being given priority, however, and though business licenses will be approved next week, no retail stores will be able allowed to open.
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The Commission’s chairman Steven Hoffman says that he can and will not set forth any projections for a timeline as of yet. There are too many considerations and steps that have yet to be taken, not the least of which is getting city and town approvals for said facilities.
On Tuesday, Hoffman said, “I’m sorry that people have expectations that were not met, I am truly sorry about that. That being said, our objective is to satisfy the will of the voters of the state of Massachusetts to build a fair and safe and equitable industry. We are doing so. There is nothing in the law that says it has to be July 1.”
He raises a good point. It was the will of the voters that the law be voted in with the stipulation that all cannabis sold be tested at an approved and licensed independent testing laboratory. The lab will test the cannabis for THC and CBD percentages, but even more importantly, will also be testing for molds, mildew, pesticides and other chemicals to ensure the safety of the product.
It’s still a bitter pill to swallow for throngs of recreational cannabis enthusiasts, as the date has been set for some time, leading some to believe these potential problems should have been addressed months ago. Perhaps it was lack of a crystal ball, but as the french are wont to say, c’est la vie. In this case it is better to be safe than sorry.
The first license was approved last week, and the Commission says that they will be approving applications at their next meeting, though they’ve only committed to “a handful” until the next and then the next. Testing facility applications are prioritized and hopefully more of them will be approved and on the way to keeping the Massachusetts masses in mold-free marijuana sooner than later.