Pubdate: Sun, 09 Sep 2018
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2018 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Author: Colin A. Young


BOSTON - A handful of the marijuana businesses granted provisional
licenses have informed the Cannabis Control Commission they are ready
to be inspected, one of the final steps before retail sales of
marijuana, approved by voters almost two years ago, can begin.

CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said late last week the agency is working
to schedule inspections for two or three provisionally licensed
businesses. Hoffman said the inspections are expected to take place
"over the next week, plus or minus."

He said it's possible the CCC could vote at its next meeting, Sept.
20, to issue a final license if a business passes its inspection and
fulfills other requirements by then.

"The final inspection is one of - assuming those get turned around, I
think the answer is it's quite possible," Hoffman said when asked
about issuing a final license at the next CCC meeting.

The chairman noted that such a vote will only take place if the CCC's
inspection team approves the facility and finds that it comports to
the law and the agency's regulations.

"We're going to go out there and the reason we're doing the inspection
is to make sure everything is in place," he said. "If they're not in
place, obviously we're going to have to go back again."

The CCC had hoped to launch the retail marijuana industry in
Massachusetts by July 1 but did not meet that target. Since then,
Hoffman and CCC officials have refused to provide an updated timeline
for when consumers will be able to legally buy marijuana.

Hoffman again declined to provide a target date and said he has been
telling people stores will open in "late summer/early fall."

"I still think that's a reasonable expectation. I'm not going to be
more precise than that," he told reporters. "I think once we have the
final inspection scheduled for a couple of entities we can probably
get a little more precise."

The CCC approved six more provisional licenses last week - two for
retail, two for cultivation and two for product manufacturing.

Patriot Care Corp., which already operates medical marijuana
dispensaries in Boston, Lowell and Greenfield, was granted provisional
licenses to sell non-medical marijuana at its locations on Industrial
Avenue East in Lowell and on Legion Avenue in Greenfield.

Patriot Care was also granted a provisional license to grow between
40,001 square feet and 50,000 square feet of marijuana canopy at its
current cultivation facility on Lincoln Street in Lowell. The company
was also approved to manufacture marijuana products, like oils,
tinctures, salves and baked goods.

Northeast Alternatives Inc., a company that has already been
provisionally approved to sell retail marijuana in Fall River, was
granted provisional licenses to grow up to 5,000 square feet of
marijuana canopy and to produce marijuana products at its facility on
Canning Boulevard in Fall River.

The latest commission votes bring the total number of retail stores
given provisional approval by the CCC to 11. They are expected to be
located in Leicester, Amesbury, Brookline, Northampton, Wareham,
Plymouth, Easthampton, Salem, Fall River, Lowell and Greenfield.

The commission has issued provisional licenses for seven cultivation
facilities, which combined will be allowed to grow up to 225,000
square feet of marijuana canopy at a time. Those growing facilities
are to be located in Leicester, Amesbury, Franklin, Plymouth,
Easthampton, Lowell and Fall River.

Some of the cultivators given preliminary approval by the CCC already
grow marijuana to be sold into the medical program. Last month, DPH
issued guidance saying it will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to
transfer some inventory to the non-medical market, as long as the
department gives prior approval of the transfer.

As of last week, the CCC had another 95 applications pending before
it. Executive Director Shawn Collins said Thursday that there are 21
applications awaiting CCC review, 48 that have been deemed incomplete
and returned to the applicant to provide additional information and 26
for which the CCC is waiting to hear back from either its background
check vendor or the host community.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt