Marijuana
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    Mass. medical marijuana program to be overseen by Cannabis Control Commission

    Blankets of frost known as trichomes on a budding marijuana flower at SLOgrown Genetics in the coastal mountain range of San Luis Obispo, Calif., in September.
    Richard Vogel/Associated Press/File
    Blankets of frost known as trichomes on a budding marijuana flower at SLOgrown Genetics in the coastal mountain range of San Luis Obispo, Calif., in September.

    The Massachusetts medical marijuana program will transfer hands from one state agency to another later this month, giving the Cannabis Control Commission oversight of both recreational and medical marijuana programs in the state.

    Effective on Dec. 23, the commission will oversee the medical marijuana program, rather than the Department of Public Health, which has run the program since it started in 2014. A state law had mandated that the transition occur by the end of the year.

    The more than 57,000 medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts are not expected to see any substantial changes to their service, the CCC wrote in a press release Thursday, announcing the transition.

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    “We have worked very hard to put in place an effective, high-quality, and streamlined medical marijuana program that is focused on patient safety and access,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in the statement. “We want to assure medical marijuana patients in the Commonwealth that we have worked closely with the CCC and our constituents over the past several months to support a smooth transition of the Program and to ensure that patient access is not impacted by this change.”

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    Ahead of the transition, patients and marijuana companies had been eager to see some changes made to current marijuana regulations, hopeful the tweaks could be made as part of the program’s transfer to the commission.

    However, members of the Cannabis Control Commission indicated at a meeting in early November that those changes would likely not be made until early 2019, after the commission starts overseeing the program.

    Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.