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Legislature approves additional Cannabis Control Commission funding

The Cannabis Control Commission is eventually expected to fund itself through fees on cannabis companies and taxes on marijuana sales.
Jason Ogulnik for The Boston Globe/file
The Cannabis Control Commission is eventually expected to fund itself through fees on cannabis companies and taxes on marijuana sales.

State lawmakers on Thursday voted to give the Cannabis Control Commission an additional $2.7 million in funding, money that should last the nascent marijuana agency through June.

The five-member commission, which was appointed in September and is working to write regulations for the recreational pot industry by July, will soon face increased expenses. It is in the process of filling key staff positions and will be buying software to manage the license application process and track the cultivation and sale of marijuana plants and products.

The Massachusetts Legislature earlier this year set aside $2.3 million to cover the startup costs of the commission, which is eventually expected to fund itself through fees on cannabis companies and taxes on marijuana sales. The agency will have to repay the additional $2.7 million once it begins to collect its own revenues.

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Last month, commission chair Steve Hoffman asked lawmakers for an additional $5.2 million to make it through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. But the commission now says the $2.7 million appropriated Thursday will suffice, since the Baker administration will let the agency use existing software to collect revenues.

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“The Cannabis Control Commission appreciates the work of our partners in state government and the quick passage of the supplemental budget request,” commission spokeswoman Dot Joyce said in a statement. The money, she added, will help the commission develop “a safe, equitable and effective licensing process.”

The Legislature is not currently in session, but the cannabis commission funds were approved under informal rules that allow bills to be passed with only a few lawmakers present as long as none object.

Governor Charlie Baker has until Dec. 10 to sign the bill.

Dan Adams can be reached at daniel.adams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Adams86.