Steven J. Hoffman, Chair
Cannabis Control Commission
101 Federal Street, 13th Floor
Boston, MA 02110

RE: Draft Revised Regulations: Adult Use of Marijuana

Dear Chair Hoffman and Members of the Cannabis Control Commission,

On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is writing to offer comments on the draft revised Adult Use of Marijuana regulations, 935 CMR 500. The MMA would like to express our appreciation to Commission members and staff for hosting public hearings in Springfield and Boston regarding these regulations. We commend the Commission for developing the Social Consumption Working Group, made up of municipal officials from across the Commonwealth, in order to ensure a municipal voice was present in the development of regulations for this new pilot program. The MMA appreciates the hard work done by the Commission in inviting thoughtful stakeholder input throughout the drafting process.

In order to serve the public as effectively as possible, cities and towns need effective and workable regulations governing adult use marijuana in Massachusetts. Municipal officials are on the front line of implementing the new law and regulations, and have a responsibility to ensure that it is done in a balanced way that maximizes the benefits of the new industry while giving appropriate consideration and weight to health and safety concerns, and possible adverse impacts on residents, business, neighborhoods, economic development plans, and other important factors. We offer the following comments in hopes that we may continue to work closely with the Commission towards safe, workable, and effective regulations.

Documentation of Municipal Costs Imposed by Marijuana Establishment or MTC as part of the Renewal Application

The MMA expresses concern with the requirement in 935 CMR 500.103(4)(f) that Marijuana Establishments or MTCs include the costs imposed on their host community as part of the renewal application for their annual license. This requirement is overly burdensome and irrelevant to the ultimate issuance of the renewal license to the marijuana establishment or MTC. While municipal records on costs imposed on the city or town by the marijuana establishment are public records, it is unclear how the Commission would consider these records as part of their license issuance. If potential costs are not considered as part of the application submission for the initial license, the inclusion of these at the point of renewal is irrelevant. Further, the information-gathering process will be overly burdensome to both the licensees and the municipality.

Marijuana Retail Taxes on Delivery-Only Retailers

The MMA expresses concern with potential definitional issues regarding the interplay between 935 CMR 500 (the Adult Use Marijuana Regulations) and 830 CMR 64N.1.1 (the Marijuana Retail Taxes Regulations). We have concerns that the definition of delivery-only retailer and marijuana establishments could preclude taxation of delivery transactions. This could lead to delivery-only retailers charging less than traditional marijuana retailers, causing consumers to prefer retail delivery options over brick-and-mortar shops.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments regarding the draft regulations. The MMA also supports the comments and recommendations from the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and our public safety officials. It is the MMA’s desire to see regulations developed and implemented in a deliberate way to ensure balanced and long-term stability and success for all stakeholders. Along those lines, we hope to see the recommendations from the Special Commission on Operating under the Influence and Impaired Driving, which have been incorporated into House Bill 71, enacted into law in the very near future. This would support our law enforcement officials in cities and towns, and help ensure the success of the social consumption pilot program. We are a willing partner and resource for you as you finalize these important changes.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your staff contact me or MMA Senior Legislative Analyst Brittney Franklin at 617-426-7272 or bfranklin@mma.org at any time.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO