Massachusetts cannabis businesses are positioning to reopen after nearly two months of being shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. State officials are on board, but the decision still pends the approval of Governor Charlie Baker.
The fate of many cannabis businesses during the coronavirus pandemic is being decided by the stay-at-home or safer-at-home orders of their states. Most states with legal cannabis have categorized weed as an essential business, resulting in a boomin the pot business in much of the country.
However, that is not the case in Massachusetts, the only state where the recreational cannabis business has been shut down since March. This is potentially disastrous for weed businesses, as they are not eligible for federal bailout money for small businesses.
Now, the state’s Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman says he believes the state’s cannabis stores can open safely if they implement protective measures like curbside pickup and appointment-only shopping. These are the same protocols taken up by the state’s “essential” retailers, including medical marijuana dispensaries.
When the stores do reopen, Hoffman says the new protocols will be monitored and enforced.
“It is unfair that Massachusetts adult-use operators are the only ones that are shut down across the country and are not eligible for any kind of federal assistance,” Hoffman said in a virtual press conference, as reported by The Boston Globe.
“I have no concerns whatsoever that we can operate this business safely. I think we’ve demonstrated that we can do so on the medical side of the business… [and] I think there’s absolutely no reason we can’t do exactly the same thing on the adult-use side.”
With Hoffman’s blessing, the stores can reopen when (and if) they receive the okay from Governor Baker. Baker infamously made the decision to classify recreational cannabis as “nonessential” and has stood by his decision even while reopening other businesses such as golf courses.
Hoffman said he would like to meet with members of Baker’s advisory board for reopening the economy to “convince them that we are totally confident” cannabis businesses can reopen safely.
Photo via Flickr/Dank Depot