Around New England

“Pot Cafes” and “Weed Delivery Vans” Make Headway In Massachusetts

January 11, 2019

A subcommittee of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission met Wednesday in Boston and is “inching closer” to licensing so-called “cannabis cafes” and home delivery of marijuana, according to an Associated Press report in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

The Public Safety and Community Mitigation Subcommittee’s recommendations follow from the Cannabis Control Commission’s “Equity Programs,” found on the commission’s web site, which seek to “redress the historic harm done” to people living in communities of disproportionate impact, “particularly Blacks and Latinos,” who have been adversely affected by “state and federal policy.”

The subcommittee’s ultimate goal is to create “social use establishments” for those who can legally use marijuana but are restricted by housing regulations, such as people in public housing who are not allowed to smoke in public housing facilities. “Cannabis cafes” provide a communal function where users can gather to smoke without fear of breaking the law.

“In light of the need for cannabis consumers who live in public housing to have a legal place to exercise their right to smoke cannabis, and in light of the historic racial disparity in cannabis law enforcement in Massachusetts, social use establishments should be permitted so that consumers have a legal place to consume cannabis outside of their own homes,” the subcommittee reported, according to the AP.

The AP further reports that subcommittee member Andrea Cabral, a former Suffolk County sheriff and a former state secretary of public safety, spoke of equal access to pot.

“People want to have an equal opportunity to consume [marijuana],” Cabral said, the AP writes.

(The Boston Globe reported in June 2018 that Cabral is the chief executive officer of Ascend Cannabis, a marijuana company.)

The subcommittee also approved so-called “weed delivery vans,” or home-delivery vehicles operating under state-licensed “delivery-only businesses.” Marijuana use and sales were legalized by Massachusetts voters in 2016. The law also is designed to help ensure users have equal access to cannabis products.

But home delivery of marijuana does not come without some risk, or so claimed at least one law enforcement official who spoke to the subcommittee.

According to the Boston Herald, Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael said that “[d]elivery-only is a tragedy waiting to happen. […] There are people that are robbed and shot over a cellphone, never mind a vehicle pulling up into a neighborhood full of cash and marijuana products. It’s not safe, and it would be very difficult to make it safe.”

The subcommittee’s report will be passed along to the Cannabis Advisory Board, which operates under the Cannabis Control Commission, before it is presented to the whole commission.

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