The Cannabis Control Commission released draft revised regulations for the adult and medical use of marijuana on July 2, kicking off a public comment period that closed on Aug. 15.

In a letter submitted during the public comment period, the MMA thanked the commission for establishing a Social Consumption Working Group, made up of two commissioners and municipal officials from around the state, in order to include municipal voices in the development of regulations for a new social consumption pilot program.

The MMA expressed concerns, however, about a requirement in the annual license renewal section of the draft regulations, which would require that Marijuana Establishments or Medical Treatment Centers include all costs imposed on their host community in the renewal application for their annual license. The MMA argues that this requirement would be overly burdensome and irrelevant to the ultimate issuance of the renewal license.

The MMA also expressed concerns about potential definitional issues regarding the connection between the adult use marijuana regulations (935 CMR 500) and the Marijuana Retail Taxes regulations (830 CMR 64N.1.1). Specifically, the definition of delivery-only retailer and marijuana establishment could preclude taxation of delivery transactions. This could lead to delivery-only retailers charging less than traditional marijuana retailers, causing consumers to prefer delivery options over brick-and-mortar shops.

The MMA also supported comments submitted by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and public safety officials.

The MMA called for regulations to be developed and implemented in a deliberate way, to ensure balanced and long-term stability. The MMA supports recommendations made by the Special Commission on Operating Under the Influence and Impaired Driving, which have been incorporated into legislation (H. 71). The MMA argues that the bill would support local law enforcement officials to ensure the success of the social consumption pilot program.

In order for the commission to begin the social consumption pilot, however, the Legislature must change state law detailing the mechanism for how a municipality may opt in to these establishments. At a Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy hearing on July 29, the MMA stated its support of communities that wish to participate in the social consumption pilot program, but added that the Legislature must work with the MMA to craft a workable process for municipalities to opt-in to the program.

CCC votes on the revised regulations are expected in mid-September.

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