CCC releases guidance document for local officials on marijuana law

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On Jan. 9, the Cannabis Control Commission issued a guidance document specifically for municipal officials to help them understand the local role in the new recreational marijuana marketplace and to highlight key aspects of the agency’s draft marijuana regulations.
 
The 10-page document offers details on a number of salient issues facing municipalities, including definitions of the types of marijuana businesses that will be licensed, the Cannabis Control Commission’s roles and duties, the municipal role in the licensing process, the parameters of local control, and a note on “host community agreements.”
 
The document provides the first in-depth breakdown of types of marijuana establishments. The document is intended to offer local officials details to help them make decisions about whether to enact an outright ban or simply limit the number and/or types of recreational marijuana businesses.
 
Under the state’s recreational marijuana law, municipalities may limit the number of marijuana facilities in their community to 20 percent of their number of liquor licenses. Many communities seeking to enact a ban did so universally.
 
The document provides differentiation not just between marijuana cultivators and retailers, but adds “marijuana product manufacturers,” “craft marijuana cultivator cooperatives,” “marijuana research facilities,” “independent testing laboratories,” “marijuana transporters,” and “marijuana social consumption establishments.” It also breaks down the types of cultivators, transporters, and retail facilities.
 
Of particular relevance to local officials is the section titled “Municipal Role in the Commission Licensing Process.” Here, the proposed regulations offer clarity on the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the proposed host community.
 
The regulations would require applicants to have held community outreach meetings in the proposed host community within six months of the application, and they must have a completed “host community agreement” with the host municipality prior to applying to the CCC for a license.
 
Applicants must also present proof that their proposed site complies with local ordinances and bylaws in effect at the time of the application. Once the CCC notifies a municipality that it has received a completed application for an adult marijuana business in the community, the municipality will have 60 days to notify the CCC whether the application is or is not in compliance.
 
The municipal guidance document addresses several other issues, such as the means by which municipalities will receive their share of the tax revenues collected.
 
Commissioner Kay Doyle, who took the lead on the municipal guidance document and previously managed the state’s medical marijuana program as deputy general counsel for the Department of Public Health, will be a panelist at the MMA's Annual Meeting workshop on the marijuana law on Friday in Boston. Doyle said she will be available during the MMA event to any local official interested in learning more about the CCC and its draft regulations.
 
The CCC will be holding public hearings on its proposed regulations beginning on Feb. 5 and concluding on Feb. 13.

The commission expects to finalize its regulations by March 15 and to begin accepting license applications on April 1, with the prospect of issuing the first provisional licenses on or soon after June 1. For more information, visit www.mass.gov/orgs/cannabis-control-commission.
 
Download the CCC's municipal guidance document (468K PDF)
Download the draft “Adult Use of Marijuana” regulations issued by the Cannabis Control Commission (1.8M PDF)