Massachusetts SJC Extends Job Protections to Medical Marijuana Users

In a landmark decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruled on Monday that an employee who is fired for testing positive for marijuana due to her lawful off-duty use of medical marijuana can pursue a claim of handicap discrimination against her former employer. With the ruling, Massachusetts has become the first state to afford such job protections to workers who lawfully use medical marijuana. Moreover, the ruling essentially precludes Massachusetts employers from adopting blanket drug-free workplace policies.… More

The Bill Has Landed

No sooner said than done, the long-awaited conference committee bill amending Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016 (the adult use cannabis referendum) has been released.  Our complete summary of the new legislation and a comparison to the referendum’s original language can be viewed here:

Summary of Cannabis Legislation

Some big picture highlights:

(1) The referendum’s one year head start for many medical marijuana licensees has been eliminated. … More

Where is the Bill?

We are more than two weeks now since the passage of the House and Senate’s competing legislation overhauling the framework regulation and taxation of adult use cannabis adopted by Massachusetts voters in November. In general, the Senate hewed closer to the language and intent of the referendum, while the House repealed the voter-passed law in its entirety in favor of a total rewrite.  Then three legislators from each chamber were swiftly appointed to a conference committee to reconcile the two competing bills into final legislation.  … More

Registered Marijuana Dispensaries Becoming For-Profit Entities: A Strong Possibility

One of the most perplexing – and quite frankly for folks trying to make a buck in the medical cannabis space, frustrating – components of the regulatory framework for Massachusetts RMDs is that they must be not-for-profit corporations under Chapter 180 of General Laws. DPH has adopted guidance that is explicit: there can be no profit sharing between the not-for-profit licensee and for-profit related parties.

Now,… More

What a Difference a Chamber Makes: Comparison of the House and Senate Adult Use Marijuana Bills

The House and Senate have now formally introduced their competing bills overhauling the adult use cannabis law enacted by referendum by the Massachusetts voters. And what a difference a chamber makes! The House bill is almost 100 pages, repeals the entirety of both the medical use and adult use laws currently on the books, limits adult use entities to only one type of each license (retail, cultivator, and product manufacturer),… More

Joint Marijuana Committee Approves Sweeping Rewrite of Medical and Adult Use Laws

The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy today voted to advance, over objection and disapproval, a bill that repeals the 2012 Medical Marijuana law and 2016 Adult Use laws in Massachusetts — both passed by referendum — in their entirety. Our summary of the major points can be viewed by clicking this link House Bill Summary.

In its place, a House Bill sent out of committee imposes many changes including a 28% tax rate (up from 12%) on adult use licensees;… More

Tobacco Wholesalers Ogle Marijuana Supply Chain

Tobacco wholesalers want to monopolize recreational marijuana distribution in Massachusetts. The Boston Globe reported that the companies responsible for tracking, delivering, and taxing cigarettes sold in the Commonwealth are trying to insert themselves as a key player in recreational marijuana sales, once the market opens for business in 2018. Touting their experience with cigarette distribution, the wholesalers have been lobbying state officials to require that all marijuana producers sell through them.… More

Legislators considering creating incentives for cities, towns who allow marijuana sales

Last month, we noted that a significant number of Massachusetts towns and cities were already enacting bans or temporary moratoria against recreational marijuana sales, even though it will be months before the first adult-use operators are even eligible to apply for licenses. Now the legislature may be doing something about that trend. Senate President Stanley Rosenburg (D.) said that lawmakers were considering whether there is a way to incentivize more communities to say ‘yes’… More

Nevada and Massachusetts: A Tale of Two States

Nevada’s adult use referendum passed the same day as Massachusetts voters ushered in the Commonwealth’s adult use law. From there, the states took two very different paths.

Both states contain a “head start” for medical licensees to begin sales, as we’ve discussed here and here.

Well, wanting to keep its boot on the neck of the black and gray markets and begin collecting revenue,… More

Bans and Moratoria on the Rise in Massachusetts

Months before the first adult-use cannabis operators are eligible to apply for licenses, a significant number of cities and towns are passing (1) temporary moratoria on local zoning approvals of any such facilities; or (2) permanent outright bans.  According to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, 39 municipalities have thus far enacted temporary moratoria, while at least 10 have passed outright prohibitions.  “Dozens” more municipalities are expected to vote on such measures soon.… More