Legal marijuana is America’s fastest-growing industry. According to ArcView Market Research, cannabis revenue is expected to exceed $22 billion by 2020—nearly double that of the NFL. This past year, Colorado saw its sales reach over $1 billion. Here in Massachusetts, sales are expected to grow to $900 million within three years. Given the nationwide trend toward legalization (at the time of writing,… More
Liquor stores are moving to gain a foothold in the Commonwealth’s new cannabis market. Last month, the Massachusetts Package Store Association (MPSA) agreed to support members that will apply for licenses to sell recreational marijuana. The unanimous board vote by the MPSA, which represents hundreds of liquor stores in the state, reflects the growing interest among alcohol retailers to enter the billion-dollar local market. And coming from an industry that fears losing a hefty market share to recreational pot,… More
Last week, Westborough became the first municipality in Massachusetts to opt out of the future recreational marijuana industry. The town’s residents, the majority of whom opposed the adult use referendum in November, voted 1,192 to 294, slamming the door on commercial cannabis establishments.
The statewide ballot initiative, which passed by a 54 percent majority, allows disinclined localities to exercise this type of local control. Under the new law,… More
This week, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg wrote to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking clarity on the federal government’s “intentions” before the state “commit[s] significant public resources to implementing Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana laws.” She’s not alone on seeking clarity as Attorney General Sessions’ public and reported statements have been anything but consistent and specific (see here and here and here, but also here).… More
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker stated that Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana law must be rewritten before retail shops open in 2018. Baker identified four changes he expects to see: expanded local control, a cap on potency, child-safety regulations, and plant growing regulations that block black-market dealings. He stated that he wants a new bill by April or May.
Expanded local control would involve giving cities and towns greater latitude to decide what types of restrictions to place on the industry.… More
Senate President Stan Rosenberg named five Senators to the Legislature’s newly established Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy on Wednesday. The Joint Committee will be tasked with studying the raft of marijuana-related bills introduced this session – as discussed in our recent post here – and reporting out any favorable bills for votes. It was expected that cannabis foe Sen. Jason Lewis would be named to the Committee and he was,… More
The Massachusetts legislature continues to chip away at Question 4, the ballot question that made marijuana legal for adult use throughout the Commonwealth. In December, a handful of lawmakers voted in an informal session to delay the start of retail sales. Now, new bills filed by Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Hannah Kane propose major changes to the law, including a reduction in the amount of marijuana adults can possess in their home.… More
In the final days of 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill delaying the opening of retail marijuana operations in Massachusetts by six months, from January to July 2018. The way the House and the Senate approved the delay—without public notice, public hearing or discussion during a lightly attended informal joint session—has garnered criticism from legalization advocates. Members of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws stated the delay “flies in the face of the will of voters,” who approved the legalization of recreational marijuana by ballot question in November.… More
On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters passed Initiative Petition 15-37, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. The Act: legalizes the possession of one (1) ounce or fewer of marijuana for people age twenty-one (21) and older and the personal possession of ten (10) ounces and not more than twelve (12) plants cultivated in a person’s primary residence for personal use; establishes a Cannabis Control Commission with the authority to license, regulate and tax retail recreational marijuana establishments “in a manner similar to alcohol;” places certain limits on the authority of municipalities to regulate retail operations through local zoning; sets a maximum tax rate of 12% on marijuana establishments (6.25% state sales tax; 3.75% state excise tax; and 2% local tax); and establishes deadlines for the Cannabis Control Commission to promulgate regulations, accept applications for operation of marijuana establishments (including retail, product testing, production and cultivation facilities), and to issue licenses.
- Allows registered medical marijuana dispensaries to operate as retail, marijuana product manufacturing or cultivators on the same premises.
- Allows licensed marijuana businesses under the state’s medical marijuana law to apply for retail, product manufacturing, and cultivation licenses on October 1, 2017.
- Requires applications from all other proposed businesses to be accepted either January 1, 2018 or October 1, 2018.
- Allows cities and towns to pass commercially reasonable local zoning ordinances, but not to prohibit marijuana establishments without a citywide or town wide vote.
Click here to download a detailed summary of the Act.
According to a report released by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier Data, Massachusetts may be home to a $1.1 billion cannabis industry by 2020.
“Unlike other places where cannabis is legal, Boston is within driving distance of many of the most populous places in America,” points out Troy Dayton, CEO of the ArcView Group.
Since Massachusetts’ new law also does not limit product forms or cap retail dispensary licenses,… More