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.
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WORCESTER - Moments after the Board of Health unanimously voted Monday
night to issue the city's first license to operate a medical marijuana
dispensary, many of those in attendance began to applaud.
It was a modest celebration of sorts - for the representatives of Good
Chemistry of Massachusetts Inc., which was awarded the first license,
public health officials and members of the Board of Health - as it
culminated what was a long process that began more than 5= years ago.
Soon after Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum
question in 2012 to legalize marijuana for medical use, Good Chemistry
began scoping out potential sites for a dispensary in the city.
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July 1, a fated day in Massachusetts for advocates of recreational
marijuana, came and went. The first day that stores were allowed to
sell nonmedical cannabis passed without so much as a joint sold. No
retailers had been licensed, and July 1 turned out much like any other
day since December 15, 2016, when it became legal in Massachusetts to
possess, grow and give away small quantities of cannabis.
But in the intervening year-and-a-half, no retailers have begun
selling the drug. Advocates of its recreational use have grown
frustrated at the retail rollout's plodding pace.
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American Grow Lab employees gather clippings from "mother" plants to
be grown into use for medical marijuana.
American Grow Lab employees gather clippings from "mother" plants to
be grown into use for medical marijuana. (Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant)
The top federal law enforcement official in Massachusetts signaled
Tuesday he would not aggressively prosecute people for using and
selling marijuana -- a federal, if not state crime -- saying that
while he could not "effectively immunize" residents from federal laws
criminalizing the drug, his office was turning its attention to the
state's opioid problem.
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To the editor:
Your June 28 editorial, "Marijuana-impaired drivers a growing danger,"
lacks a rational basis for crying wolf. In fact, marijuana
consumption's negligible impact on driving ability pales next to
alcohol and distraction by smartphone use.
While no one expects an editorial board to research extensively law
enforcement claims on this subject, as a reader I do expect you to do
some research in the scientific journals and not popular press.
Had you done so, you would have found the growing consensus that the
motor vehicle accident odds ratio following marijuana consumption and
driving is an order of magnitude smaller than a blood alcohol level
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From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, industries across America are
struggling to redress decades of discrimination and boost the ranks of
minorities and the disenfranchised in their workforces.
But what if you could design an industry from scratch? Could you
somehow bake in diversity and fairness?
We're about to find out.
Last month, Massachusetts rolled out the country's first statewide
marijuana industry "equity" program, giving preferential treatment to
people who are typically marginalized by the business world.
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OXFORD - The brand-new computers, minimalist modern decor and iPad
check-in seem more akin to an Apple Store. But the security guard and
the very slight sickly-sweet smell upon entering reveal the true nature
of the new business on Main Street: It's the region's second marijuana
dispensary and it celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.
Curaleaf operates a dispensary in Hanover and a state-of-the-art grow
facility in Webster. It plans to open a third dispensary in
Provincetown at the end of the summer. It opened its roughly
2,000-square-foot dispensary in Oxford on Saturday and held a
ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.
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Since last month's release of revised regulations for adult
recreational marijuana use, municipalities are heading to town
meetings this spring to decide whether to ban or allow marijuana
establishments and ways to regulate them.
Shrewsbury, Sutton, Grafton, Northboro, Northbridge and Douglas are
among the Central Massachusetts communities that will deal with
marijuana issues at town meetings in April and May. Northboro may be
the only community that has an article that seeks to ban not only
recreational marijuana, but also medical marijuana
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In just the first day of accepting preliminary applications, the
Cannabis Control Commission said 23 companies and entrepreneurs had
submitted requests for expedited licensing, and another 167 were in
the process after the agency launched its online licensing system Monday.
"Yesterday was a seminal day in the thus-far-brief history of the
commission," said Steve Hoffman, the agency's chairman. "There were
probably a large number of people that didn't think we'd be ready on
April 2 to start accepting applications," but the agency's regulations
were in place on time last month and its system worked smoothly, he
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On Monday at noon, decades of debate all come down to this: a click of
a computer mouse by a state technology contractor.
With that, the Massachusetts state government's system for legal pot
use will blink to life, and businesses can begin applying for licenses
to grow, process, and sell cannabis to adults 21 and older.
The behind-the-scenes milestone will not have an immediate impact on
consumers. But it does mark the beginning of a process that regulators
expect will lead to the debut of recreational pot sales in July.
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When President Trump took the stage in New Hampshire on Monday and
delivered a fiery speech about how the White House plans to tackle the
nationwide opioid problem, he leaned heavily on the idea that the
Massachusetts city of Lawrence was largely to blame for the scourge of
addiction in the Granite State.
Citing a 2017 study by researchers at Dartmouth College's Geisel
School of Medicine, the president said the "sanctuary city" of
Lawrence, a community that restricts its cooperation with federal
immigration officials, is one of "the primary sources of fentanyl in
six New Hampshire counties."
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President Trump made big news in New Hampshire this week with his call
for applying the death penalty to big drug dealers - and that only
goes to show that bad policy makes for easy headlines.
The best explanation of why that's a thoroughly wrong-headed approach
is also the simplest: Western societies don't execute people for those
kinds of crimes. Nor should we start.
Without using names, Trump cited conversations with international
leaders who supposedly told him their countries have no drug problems
because they have the death penalty for drug traffickers. Only a
handful of nations routinely execute drug smugglers or traffickers.
Among them: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Philippines,
Vietnam, and Malaysia. That's hardly an honor roll of nations that
respect human rights and liberties or the process of law; their
leaders are not the people Trump should be consulting on criminal
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Marijuana companies will be banned from a majority of cities and towns
in Massachusetts when recreational sales begin this summer, a Globe
review has found, the latest indication that there will be fewer pot
stores in the early going than many consumers expected.
At least 189 of the state's 351 municipalities have barred retail
marijuana stores and, in most cases, cultivation facilities and other
cannabis operations, too, according to local news reports, municipal
records, and data collected by the office of Attorney General Maura
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WEST BRIDGEWATER - The class had covered bullying, Internet safety,
and good decision-making, and by February, Officer Kenneth Thaxter
could see that the sixth-graders were ready.
The lights went off, and the projector went on.
"Today," the DARE officer said, "we're going to talk about marijuana."
For 16 years, every elementary school student in this small town has
learned about drugs from Thaxter. But this year, his lesson needed to
change, and he was about to find out whether the students knew why.
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The state Cannabis Control Commission split 3-2 Wednesday over whether
to automatically disqualify people with trafficking convictions from
working with legal marijuana.
People with a prior conviction for trafficking in drugs other than
marijuana will be barred from working in jobs that include access to
the plant in the newly legal marijuana industry, a decision made after
about an hour of tense debate among state pot regulators.
The Cannabis Control Commission split 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon over
whether to automatically disqualify people with trafficking
convictions from working with marijuana, adding those convictions to a
list of automatically disqualifying issues like being registered as a
sex offender, open or unresolved criminal proceedings, violent felony
convictions, and felony convictions involving drugs other than marijuana.
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The state Department of Public Health has suspended retail sales of
medical marijuana products at Healthy Pharms Inc. until further notice
after a sample tested positive for a pesticide, officials said Monday.
The company, which has retail locations in Cambridge and Georgetown,
notified the state on Friday that a sample batch of marijuana was
found to contain bifenthrin, a pesticide commonly used in food
products, the Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Registered marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are prohibited from
using pesticides on marijuana grown in their facilities, officials
said. Healthy Pharms said none of the marijuana from the contaminated
batch was sold to the public.
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State regulators voted Monday to limit the roll-out of recreational
marijuana sales in July, postponing licensing of home delivery
services and pot lounges while allowing retail pot shops and their
suppliers to open in July as scheduled.
The Cannabis Control Commission had been under pressure to delay
delivery and "social consumption" operations from Governor Charlie
Baker and other political figures, law enforcement officials, and
medical marijuana business interests, who had argued the nascent
agency was trying to do too much at the outset and would struggle to
oversee so many different types of operations.
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WORCESTER - City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. wants to ban
recreational marijuana retail stores, cultivators, manufacturers and
related establishments from all residential-zoned areas and preclude
them from being located within 500 feet of schools, public parks,
playgrounds, licensed day care centers and public libraries.
Under zoning amendments being recommended by Mr. Augustus,
recreational marijuana establishments would only be allowed by special
permit in areas zoned for manufacturing and business uses, as well as
in Institutional-Hospital zones and in the Airport zone, which
includes the industrial park next to Worcester Regional Airport.
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Massachusetts should consider creating a state-run bank to serve
recreational marijuana companies, the state's top cannabis official
suggested Wednesday, warning that an all-cash industry would create
security risks and regulatory headaches.
With recreational pot sales scheduled to begin in July, Cannabis
Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman said no local banks or
credit unions have committed to providing financial services to
recreational marijuana shops and other licensed cannabis operations,
wary they will run afoul of federal restrictions.
"There's a high degree of urgency, so it's something we need to start
talking about," Hoffman said in an interview. "Unfortunately, it's a
real possibility" that the recreational industry won't have access to
any banking services, he said. "We're working as hard as we can to
preempt that, but we can't force any bank or credit union to service
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Political pressure on the state Cannabis Control Commission
intensified Thursday, as Attorney General Maura Healey and 78 state
legislators joined Governor Charlie Baker in pressing the independent
agency to roll out a more limited recreational marijuana industry this
In letters sent at the close of a public comment period on the
commission's draft rules for pot companies, Healey and the lawmakers
urged cannabis regulators to delay their provisional plans to license
marijuana cafes, delivery services that don't also operate a physical
storefront, and "mixed-use" businesses such as art galleries and
theaters that want to sell cannabis on the side.
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