Massachusetts proposes draft regulations that include agency’s Host Community Agreement oversight, municipal equity requirements, and suitability reform.
According to a recent press release (1), the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) approved historic changes to Massachusetts’ adult and medical use of cannabis regulations with the goals of leveling the playing field for entrants into the legal industry, increasing access for small businesses and those from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition, and ensuring compliance with the state law.
According to Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly (2), regulatory changes include measures to clear the way for people with past criminal records to work in marijuana shops and to allow all cities and towns to eventually host cannabis cafes. The CCC’s website also reports that revisions include new parameters for the local contracts that host cities and towns must enter with Marijuana Establishments and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers to site such facilities, also known as Host Community Agreements (HCAs), and local policies that communities must implement to comply with the state’s mandate to ensure equity in Massachusetts’ regulated marketplace. Other proposals seek to eliminate disqualifications that prevent prospective Registered Agents from employment in the legal industry and expand to all cities and towns in the Commonwealth the ability to opt-in to hosting Social Consumption Establishments.
“As the sole Commissioner who had a piece of all three regulatory topics we voted on today, I couldn’t be more excited about the new opportunities presented in these drafts that aim to make Massachusetts’s regulated cannabis industry more accessible and inclusive,” stated Commissioner Ava Callender Concepcion in the CCC press release (1). “Whether it is ensuring a more transparent and fair process for applicants at the local level or removing barriers to entry for individuals interested in working in this still-newly regulated industry – I hope that the steps we are taking continue opening doors for those who were disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs and deserve a place in this market.”
The next steps for these proposed draft regulations will be to allow constituents and stakeholders to weigh in on all proposals through public comments as written testimony and a planned public hearing on September 8, 2023. After that, the CCC will reconvene to consider feedback and vote on final regulations.