DRAFT POT REGS AGREED TO BY STATE REGULATORS
By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 21, 2017.....Moving one step closer to the launch of legal marijuana sales and sticking to the timeline they had laid out, Massachusetts marijuana regulators on Thursday accepted 108-pages of draft regulations they developed for the newly-legal pot industry.
After four days of policy discussions last week, the Cannabis Control Commission met Thursday afternoon to make a few final tweaks to the regulations that will govern the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, transportation, storage, sale and social use of marijuana, as well as the process businesses must follow to become licensed to legally deal in marijuana.
The five-member CCC voted unanimously to adopt the draft regulations, which will be filed with the secretary of state's office by the end of next week, after a little more than an hour of discussion. As of 5 p.m., a copy of the draft regulations was not yet available on the CCC's website.
Chairman Steven Hoffman said the CCC "took all of the decisions we made last week, the 80-plus decisions we made last week, and embedded them into proposed regulations."
Over four days last week the CCC worked through its first actual policy debates, discussing and then deciding issues like whether to license establishments where an adult could purchase and use single-servings of marijuana, how to make the fledgling legal industry accessible to racially and economically diverse communities, what price to set for license fees, what security precautions the state will require of marijuana establishments, and what restrictions to place on marijuana marketing.
"I think it's a superb product. I think that these could become final tomorrow," Hoffman said of the draft regulations at the start of Thursday's meeting. "We have a process by which they're not going to become final until March 15, but they're so well done I'm just amazed at what we were able to accomplish in a very short period of time."
After filing the draft regulations with the secretary of state by next Friday, the public will have most of January to read and scrutinize the proposed rules. The CCC is planning to hold a series of public hearings on the draft across the state during the week of February 5, with snow dates to be scheduled for the following week.
Hoffman said Thursday the dates and locations for those public hearings will be announced soon on the CCC's website and in the Boston Herald.
"We will have those public hearings in February, we will have additional public meetings of the commission to discuss the feedback and any suggestions and ideas that we got from those public hearings, and to discuss and decide upon whether we need to make any changes or modifications to the draft regulations," the chairman said Thursday.
The CCC is aiming to file its final regulations by March 9, ahead of the March 15 statutory deadline, Hoffman has said.
The commission is expected to meet next on Jan. 9, a meeting commissioners last week agreed to set aside for a detailed discussion of how it will define "communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement" using arrest data and economic factors as it relates to its equity program.
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