In 2016 Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational cannabis with some exciting add-ons, namely home bud delivery and cannabis social clubs or cafes. However, in March of this year, the Cannabis Control Commision changed all that. Legal marijuana is still close on the horizon, to be freed as early as next month, but delivery and cafes are off the table — for now.
Daniel Bennett, Secretary of Public Safety and Security, points to the notion that the cannabis industry is already very difficult to regulate when a new market opens up. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker pointed to Oregon and Colorado as examples where regulation meant a healthy delay in extra services like on site consumption.
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“We believe the difficulties of safely administering the adult use marijuana market in the near term will be multiplied by the proposed licensing of social consumption establishments, mixed-use social consumption establishments, and home delivery retail services,” Bennett wrote in a letter to the commission, which is currently in the process of writing up regulations for the new legal cannabis market.
The two major concerns with cannabis cafes in particular are the old standards. Driving while high and youth access. Though if regulation is topping the priority list, youth access should in theory not be going up. Driving on the other hand is a little trickier. The hope would be that neighborhood residents would walk to cafes or take a car service or public transportation, not only keeping others safer, but maintaining a responsible track record with legal cannabis landscapes.
Baker further contributed to the conversation with, “I think the experience coming out of both Colorado and Oregon has been this is a very tough industry to regulate straight out of the gate, and people should crawl before they walk, and walk before they run.”
So just how long could it be before home delivery and cafes become exciting new realities, creating new jobs, new conveniences and a holistic market? Experts are predicting a late a start as 2019, but there’s a great likelihood that because states like Oregon and Colorado had rocky starts that we can learn from their missteps and be rolled out and regulated sooner than we even think!