Public Law

Updates on Public Law in Massachusetts from Anderson & Kreiger LLP


Two Draft Cannabis Regulations May Surprise Local Decision-Makers, and Affect Their Planning

image credit: Tomas de Aquino

There are two draft Cannabis Regulations that may surprise local decision-makers, and affect their planning.

Cities and towns have been primed to expect that the sale of marijuana products would be analogous to the retail sale of alcohol – that the local package store would be joined by the corner weed outlet.  But the draft regulations also provide for a class of marijuana retailers that would sell by home delivery only, directly from a marijuana cultivator or product manufacturing facility.  These delivery-only retailers would be permitted to sell directly to a customer who had previously provided proof of her age and identity, at a residence, as long as she is there to sign the manifest.  Vehicles would have to be unmarked (neither the name of the seller’s establishment nor any reference to marijuana products could be on the vehicle) and subject to other security and GPS location requirements.  Widespread adoption of this delivery method could result in many fewer store-front retail outlets.  (And more people missing work to stay home to sign for their cannabis delivery).

The draft regulations also make provisions for “Marijuana Social Consumption Establishments” (a/k/a “pot bars”), to be opened no earlier than October 1, 2018.  Such licensees would be permitted to sell “single servings of marijuana to consumers for consumption on the premises.”  These facilities can be “primary use” licensees, deriving more than 50% of their revenues from sales to on-premises consumers, or “mixed use” licensees, “for which the consumption of marijuana is a secondary or shared purpose to a non-cannabis business purpose” [emphasis supplied], such as selling pizza.  The new G.L. c. 94G is ambiguous as to whether a municipality has to hold a referendum in order to allow for such establishments, but the more expansive view – and the one seemingly embraced by the CCC – is that they are permitted if they are not prohibited.  This suggests that all kinds of existing businesses could seek to get into marijuana sales as a complement to their current business model.  Local planners should start thinking about how much latitude they want to give to the sale of marijuana for consumption on the premises as an accessory use.

About the Author

George A. Hall, Jr. – Partner

George represents clients on local government issues, particularly zoning and other land use matters.

Posted In: Marijuana

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