It’s been almost two years since Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure legalizing cannabis in their fair state. In November 2016, Massachusetts had it in writing that they would have legal marijuana as of January 1, 2018, the same date that California opened its legal weed flood gates.
Last year, state lawmakers said they wouldn’t be ready in time for New Year’s Day, and extended their deadline to July 1, 2018. And now they’re dragging their heels again. At a meeting of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission last Thursday the chairman said that July 1 was just an “arbitrary deadline” and that his focus was to create an orderly regulation framework, not to get one out as fast as possible, as reported by the Associated Press.
The chairman Steven Hoffman did not give a new date for the start of recreational sales, but did say he hoped the commission would begin issuing licenses “shortly.”
“We have said from the start that July 1 is not a legislative mandate, it’s our objective and we are going to try to meet that objective, but we are going to do it right,” Hoffman told reporters.
1,145 applications have been started on the commission’s online portal since the beginning of April, but according to officials only 53 of these were complete. Of these 53 applications, 36 of them were from companies that already operated medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts, 17 were for retail facilities, and 17 for growing operations.
Some blame the slow rollout of legalization on the many municipalities in the state which have yet to issue clear host community agreements with applicants in their districts.
“I think there are plenty of consumers who were looking forward to purchasing cannabis in a safe and legal location and most of them are going to have to wait,” said Jim Borghesani, cannabis business consultant and former Massachusetts spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot