Massachusetts is one of the latest states to legalize recreational cannabis. Although there is still some work to be done before a full-fledged recreational marijuana program is in place, they’ve taken a huge step forward, with the state’s first recreational license officially granted on Monday.
First Recreational License Granted in Massachusetts
On Monday, Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission unanimously approved an application by Cultivate Holdings, LLC. a Leicester-based company, making it the state’s first cannabis retail dispensary.
Cultivate Holdings currently sells medical marijuana but wanted to expand the business into Massachusett’s upcoming recreational sector.
“We’re very excited to be the first,” Cultivate president Sam Barber told news reporters, per the Boston Globe. “We all feel [the recreational cannabis industry] is going to be tremendous for the Commonwealth — the amount of jobs that this is going to create for the local community, especially our town, and the amount of tax revenue is going to be a huge help.”
Recreational marijuana was originally on pace to hit Massachusett’s shelves months ago, but the endeavor has met its fair share of bumps and bruises. While recreational cannabis was approved back in a November 2016 ballot, it was delayed several months, and lawmakers expected a July 1st rollout. However, plans were once again put on hold, after the Cannabis Control Commission admitted they had not yet licensed any independent testing labs. Under the state’s latest provisions, all recreational marijuana must be tested independently before hitting shelves.
However, last week, Steven Hoffman, the chairman of the CCC, admitted there was only one lab-testing application in the approval process.
“We do have one lab application that’s in the queue,” Hoffman said. “We’ve talked to the labs, the four operators of the medical marijuana labs, and our expectation, I don’t have timing, but our expectation is that they’ll all apply,” Hoffman told reporters last Tuesday.
When Will Recreational Cannabis Hit The Shelves?
Again, while there has yet to be any labs meeting approval thus far, it does look like recreational cannabis sales aren’t far off. While only two of the state’s four primary labs have submitted applications, the CCC has prioritized the lab approval process to expedite everything.
Additionally, Cultivate is required to meet a few more general regulations, such as passing state-mandated inspections and fingerprinting prospective employees.
At this rate, it appears we are a few weeks off from seeing marijuana hit the shelves this summer. Although the process has been long and arduous, there is growing belief that the recreational industry is starting to take shape.
“I’d rather have the program done in the right way,” Hoffman said on Monday. “This is one of the most rigorous states to get through the process but I think they’re doing it the right way.”