The control commission takes a step closer to cannabis cafes in Mass.


State regulators canceled a pilot program that would have tested cannabis cafes in a dozen communities, instead wading into a formal regulatory process.

In this Nov. 13, 2019, file photo, patrons smoke marijuana at Lowell’s Original Cannabis Cafe, a legal marijuana establishment, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File

Years after legalizing recreational cannabis and welcoming its first pot shops, Massachusetts still lacks dedicated places for public consumption — imagine liquor stores, but no bars.

The 2016 ballot question that greenlit adult-use marijuana also allowed Massachusetts to allow cannabis cafes and other so-called social consumption sites, but efforts to get them off the ground have stalled. delay.

While adults over the age of 21 can legally purchase cannabis products at any number of licensed dispensaries located throughout Massachusetts, smoking or consuming marijuana in public remains illegal, leaving some users – those in social housing, for example – with limited options.

Earlier this week, state cannabis regulators voted to scrap a pilot program that would have incrementally tested cannabis cafes in a dozen communities, opting instead to dive into the regulatory and licensing framework at statewide, State House News Service reported.

The move will allow Massachusetts to get social consumption sites up and running “a little bit faster,” Nurys Camargo, commissioner with the Cannabis Control Commission, told reporters after Monday’s meeting, according to the State. House News Service.

“Everyone asks: what is it? What is the regulatory framework? What are the licenses? Camargo said, per SHNS. “I think now we can really start thinking about what that looks like, especially now that we don’t have a pilot in place.”

Commissioner Bruce Stebbins, meanwhile, said the pilot program would have involved a “cumbersome and expensive” process, according to GBH.

The outlet reported that all commissioners voted to cancel the pilot except for commissioner Kimberly Roy, who said she wanted more information on the public health impacts, the public safety and equity.

According to GBH, Camargo said the commissioners are inviting public awareness of social consumption before diving into the formal regulatory process, with a virtual listening session scheduled for June.


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