Eric Engman/Associated Press
The Cannabis Control Commission is pushing to write a first draft of new rules permitting the legal sale of marijuana in Massachusetts by the end of the year, setting up a frenetic month that will shape the recreational pot industry.
The commission announced Tuesday that it plans to file initial regulations by Dec. 29. Among numerous details, they will spell out the criteria for winning dispensary licenses, rules for marijuana consumption bars, and a plan for ensuring diversity in the industry.
The commission said the near-term deadline is necessary if it hopes to have final regulations officially in place by March 15, as required by law. The next deadline comes soon after, on April 1, when companies can begin applying for licenses. Pot sales are expected to begin around July 1.
Pulling it off will require the agency to work practically nonstop over the next month, especially during the week of Dec. 11, when the commission has scheduled five consecutive daylong public meetings to debate and vote on specific policies.
“We have a lot of work to get done,” commission chairman Steve Hoffman said Tuesday. “It’s going to be a long week, there’s no question whatsoever about it. But I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
Hoffman said that while some basic rules can be drafted quickly or simply carried over from the existing medical marijuana program, other critical issues are sure to be more contentious. These include the packaging and labeling requirements for edible marijuana products and the regulation of so-called “social consumption lounges,” essentially bars that serve cannabis instead of alcohol.
Another sticky question is how to fulfill the law’s mandate to expedite licenses to businesses that would benefit minority communities that were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
“They’re not no-brainers,” Hoffman said of the more complex issues facing the commission.
The commission said it will schedule public hearings on the draft regulations around the state in early February.
The five commissioners of the cannabis agency on Tuesday also debated how much they should disclose of their conversations with lobbyists and interest groups during this hectic period. The commissioners have set aside time during the week of Dec. 18 to meet individually with such stakeholders.
Commissioner Shaleen Title, a former marijuana activist and businesswoman, argued those meetings should be recorded and made public. But Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan, a former state senator, countered the agency did not have enough time to transcribe each meeting and that such a policy would have a chilling effect on the frank feedback it wants.
The commissioners ultimately agreed not to record the meetings, but will disclose any reasons for changes in proposed regulations made during December.
Mayor Martin Walsh will roll out an array of projects designed to protect Boston from rising sea levels. And he’s asking business leaders for their help to make them happen.Continue reading »
A Cambridge biotech startup is using a new method to gauge the health of synapses in people’s brains as it prepares to test an experimental medicine to treat Alzheimer’s disease.Continue reading »
Business leaders seem ready to embrace Marty Walsh’s vision of a “climate ready” Boston. Whether they’re ready to break out their checkbooks remains to be seen.Continue reading »
Mass. Mutual Life Insurance Co. and OppenheimerFunds employees will get about $5.7 billion in Invesco preferred and common stock for the fund unit, which has $246 billion in assets.Continue reading »
The Massachusetts biotechnology sector is growing so fast that employers are offering increasingly generous — and almost unheard of — benefits to attract and keep workers.Continue reading »
Steve Trask discovered his family’s pet puggle in rough shape at a boarding facility, and then things took a more dire turn.Continue reading »
The Waltham startup will work on developing treatments for fibrosis-related conditions.Continue reading »
One Los Angeles rental had excellent reviews and a host who had so impressed Airbnb that he was ranked as a “super host.” Then the nightmare began.Continue reading »
Many nurses, including some in the union, worry about loss of flexibility on the job if a ballot measure passes Nov. 6.Continue reading »