Marijuana Home Delivery Idea Goes Too Far, Lawmakers Say
BOSTON, SHNS -- A handful of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have asked that Massachusetts marijuana regulators scrap the proposed delivery license that would let operators buy marijuana wholesale from cultivators and manufacturers, store it in a warehouse and deliver it to consumers at home.
The Cannabis Control Commission is expected Tuesday morning to consider feedback and hold a final discussion about its draft delivery policy, which would create two distinct delivery license types: a "limited delivery license" that would allow an operator to charge a fee to make deliveries from CCC-licensed retailers and dispensaries, and a "wholesale delivery license." But in a letter last week, 19 state lawmakers told the CCC that they "believe that the wholesale delivery license category proposed in the draft regulations was not contemplated, nor supported, by the enabling legislation" and asked the commission to reconsider its plan to take a final vote on the regulations next week.
The lawmakers -- including former Marijuana Policy Committee co-chair Rep. Mark Cusack -- said the successful 2016 legalization question and the ballot law as amended by the Legislature in 2017 "deliberatively and intentionally created a license that made clear delivery of marijuana to consumers is directly and only linked to marijuana retail establishments" and that "a wholesale delivery license direct to consumers is clearly not contemplated in the law."
"Instead, the draft regulations create a shadow direct to the consumer marketplace not governed by the licensing requirements and regulations of marijuana retailers. These draft regulations also significantly change the landscape for cities and towns after many had already engaged in intensive community-wide conversations about the number and types of marijuana establishments their communities wished to host," the lawmakers wrote. "Further, the proposed draft regulations have not had the opportunity to be sufficiently reviewed and may result in unintended consequences to our municipalities."
The concerns about local control mirror those raised in a letter from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which told the CCC that it "is extremely concerned with the definition of marijuana wholesale delivery license within the draft regulations ... specifically that a marijuana wholesale delivery license is not considered to be a Marijuana Retailer."
MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwithwrote that he was concerned the regulations as written would not allow municipalities to count a wholesale delivery license against their cap on marijuana retailers, if they have one, "although the wholesale delivery licensee could sell directly to consumers acting essentially as a retailer..."
When it started this latest round of regulatory revisions earlier this year, the CCC's proposed rules would have limited delivery operators to a courier role, sourcing marijuana and marijuana products from CCC-licensed retailers and making same-day deliveries. Several prospective cannabis delivery operators told commissioners during a public hearing that the framework for delivery would not work as initially written.
Home delivery of marijuana has long been allowed under the state's medical marijuana program, and advocates pushed for a delivery-only license in the recreational market, arguing that it will help level the playing field between large corporations and small businesses because the barriers to entry for delivery are typically far less burdensome than those for retail licenses.
On Oct. 29, the CCC is expected to vote on its larger suite of rewritten regulations.
--Colin A. Young/State House News Service