MASSACHUSETTS: The Cannabis Control Commission concluded its priority review process on Tuesday, ultimately approving 205 prospective licensees to enter the agency’s application system early and have their license applications processed first.
The 205 total certified includes 82 Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMDs) and 123 Economic Empowerment Applicants, which were required to demonstrate residency, experience or business practices that promote economic empowerment in communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana enforcement.
Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 requires the Commission to prioritize evaluation of and decisions for both categories of applicants. The Commission’s regulations allow priority applicants to be processed ahead of general applicants on an alternating basis.
“The completion of priority review today marks another important milestone for the Commission, which reviewed hundreds of applications from individuals who are eager to achieve adult use cannabis licenses in the Commonwealth,” Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “These results demonstrate our effort to ensure equal participation in this new industry by existing Massachusetts businesses and entrepreneurs who are focused on supporting disproportionately impacted communities. We look forward to working with all licensees in the next phase of the process toward opening safe, equitable and effective marijuana establishments in our state.”
For certification, RMDs were required to provide the Commission a copy of a final or provisional certificate issued by the Department of Public Health. Economic Empowerment Applicants needed to demonstrate they met three out of six of the following criteria: Majority of ownership belongs to people who have lived in areas of disproportionate impact for 5 of the last 10 years; Majority of ownership has held one or more previous positions where the primary population served were disproportionately impacted, or where primary responsibilities included economic education, resource provision or empowerment to disproportionately impacted individuals or communities; At least 51% of current employees/sub-contractors reside in areas of disproportionate impact and will increase to 75% by first day of business; At least 51% of employees or sub-contractors have drug-related CORI, but are otherwise legally employable in a cannabis-related enterprise; A majority of the ownership is made up of individuals from Black, African American, Hispanic or Latino descent; and Owners can demonstrate significant past experience in or business practices that promote economic empowerment in areas of disproportionate impact.
The Commission’s licensing system opened to priority applicants on April 17. General applicants interested in opening facilities for Cultivation, Microbusinesses, Craft Cooperatives, Independent Testing Labs, and Transport could begin applying for licenses on May 1.
So far, 81 applicants have submitted at least one packet toward achieving a license, while 35 applicants have submitted all four packets required by the Commission. They include the Application of Intent, Background Check, Management and Operations Profile and payment packets.
The Cannabis Control Commission cannot issue any licenses before June 1, according to statute. That date also marks the start of the Commission accepting general applications from Retail and Product Manufacture licensees.