Massachusetts Marijuana Retailers Surpass $1 Billion In Gross Sales

Milestone reached nearly two years after adult-use sales started in Massachusetts; progress continues to achieve industry goals

MASSACHUSETTS: Adult-use Marijuana Retailers in Massachusetts have now tallied more than $1 billion in gross sales, according to information reported in the state’s mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system, the Cannabis Control Commission announced Tuesday.

At close of business on Friday, October 30, aggregate data recorded in Metrc by 80 Marijuana Retailers operating statewide reached $1,000,521,905, coming nearly two years after the first two adult-use stores on the East Coast opened their doors November 20, 2018.

“This sales milestone represents licensees’ ability to successfully support a safe, accessible, and effective adult-use industry, and I am pleased the resulting tax benefits will have a significant impact on communities throughout the Commonwealth,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “These numbers also speak to Commission licensing and enforcement staff working around the clock to make sure these businesses and their products comply with all of our regulations, especially the health and safety provisions. Each year, as this marketplace matures, the public will continue to see progress on state mandates and Commission objectives, including our commitment to equity, and the steps we have taken in 2020 are evidence of that.”

Source: Cannabis Control Commission’s Open Data Platform

Over the first year of adult-use sales, from November 2018 to November 2019, 33 Marijuana Retailers generated $393.7 million in gross sales, before licensees ultimately tallied $444.9 million for the full calendar year of 2019.

Since January 1, 2020, Marijuana Establishments have already surpassed those figures, generating $539 million in gross sales despite two months of closures as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency in Massachusetts. During the pandemic, the Commission has implemented numerous protocols, including social distancing requirements, sanitation measures, and curbside service at licensed locations throughout the state that put first the health and safety of employees, patients, and consumers, while also supporting Marijuana Establishments’ ongoing operations. Read more at MassCannabisControl.com/COVID19.

Licensing, Agents, and Equity

Since Massachusetts’ first two Marijuana Retailers opened in 2018, 82 more have received notices from the Commission to commence operations statewide and are in the process of opening. Another 201 Marijuana Retailers with provisional or final license approval are completing the Commission’s inspection and compliance procedures towards that end.

In total, the Commission has licensed 688 Marijuana Establishments, including Cultivators, Product Manufacturers, Independent Testing Laboratories, Microbusinesses, and more. Currently, 40 Cultivators are open for business, with the capacity to grow up to a maximum of 1.26 million square feet of canopy in the Commonwealth.

The Commission is also in the process of finalizing changes to its adult-use regulations that will support home delivery of marijuana and marijuana products, after launching the initial license applications for adult-use Delivery-Only operators in May. To further the agency’s mission of ensuring industry participation by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition, the evolving Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license types will be exclusively available to certified Economic Empowerment Applicants (EEAs) and Social Equity Program (SEP) Participants for a minimum of three years. So far, the Commission has issued two Delivery-Only—or Marijuana Courier—licenses to such applicants and pre-certified 47 more who are interested in offering delivery services in Massachusetts.

To date, two EEA licensees, two SEP licensees, and five Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) – or state-certified minority-, woman-, or veteran-owned companies – have opened. Additionally, the Commission has issued provisional licenses to 14 more EEAs, 21 more SEP Participants, and 87 DBEs that represent they have attended the state’s Supplier Diversity Office class and received expedited review from the Commission. Another four provisional licenses have gone to applicants who maintain both EEA status and participate in SEP, while seven more provisional licenses have gone to SEP Participants who are also DBE certified.

As of October, across all categories of licenses, the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts consists of nearly 10,300 active Marijuana Establishment Agent registrations, up from 6,700 in November 2019. Of those, approximately 33 percent identify as female and 66 percent identify as male, while 74.2 percent of registered and proposed agents identify as White, 6.7 percent identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish, and 5.9 percent identify as Black or African American.

This spring, the Commission’s first cohort of 143 SEP Participants received technical assistance and training across four teaching tracks. For the second cohort, 285 applicants qualified and now have access to technical assistance and training that started in July and continues through this winter. Participants who are approved for the program based on three criteria receive automatic program benefits, such as expedited application review by the Commission’s licensing team, certain fee waivers, and exclusive access to license types such as the Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses.

Public Health, Safety, and Research

Throughout 2020, the Commission has continued to lead on initiatives that prioritize the public health and safety of Massachusetts residents and increase patient and consumer awareness. As part of its multimillion-dollar campaign, More About Marijuana, which has traditionally focused on responsible use and preventing youth access, the Commission has incorporated new educational materials about the dangers of home manufacturingCOVID-19 safety tips for cannabis consumers, and the risks of vaping, in response to statutory requirements and recent health emergencies.

The Commission issued three industrywide emergency orders over the past year in response to reported occurrences of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the Commonwealth and across the nation. Staff also surveyed licensees to understand the ingredients and sources of additives used in licensed products, published multiple sets of testing results pertaining to regulated vapes—effectively clearing their use of Vitamin E acetate—and issued new packaging, labeling, and testing requirements, including the testing of finished vaping products to protect consumers against hazardous additives and contaminants. This summer, the Commission’s Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products provided several options for licensees to address previously quarantined products manufactured prior to December 12, 2019:

  • Voluntarily disposing of vaporizer products;
  • Releasing vaporizer products from quarantine for sale if first retested or remediated; or
  • Repurposing quarantined vaporizer products into other marijuana products after reclaiming marijuana oil from the quarantined product.

The Commission continues to develop a product database that will enable law enforcement, state and local officials, such as school administrators, and parents, to determine whether products that may be illegally diverted into the hands of youth and/or the public came from a licensed source or the illicit market.

Finally, the Commission released five comprehensive research reports in the past year which focus on youth usagepreliminary industry assessmentthe impact of legalizationthe state of the data, and the effectiveness of the Commission’s public awareness campaign. Work is underway to conduct a baseline assessment of impacts to the healthcare system, adult-use cannabis behaviors, the utility in using public safety data to assess social equity provisions, legal and illicit market cannabis use behaviors, cannabis-related disciplinary actions in schools, as well as continuing the primary collected surveys included in the Marijuana Baseline Health Study.

Additional information about the Commission’s sales, licensing, and equity data is available by visiting MassCannabisControl.Com, by contacting the Commission by phone (774-415-0200) or email (Commission@CCCMass.Com), or following the agency on Facebook and Twitter.

MCR Labs ‘Ask An Expert’ Virtual Event Seeks To Clear Up Mass. Cannabis Confusion

Cannabis experts will weigh in on questions submitted by members of the general public as part of a virtual panel discussion hosted by MCR Labs on October 28.

MASSACHUSETTS:  MCR Labs is organizing a virtual panel discussion for members of the public to submit cannabis-related questions to four experts with backgrounds in cannabis testing, research, medicine, and cultivation in order to help new and experienced cannabis consumers expand their knowledge of a complex and often misunderstood plant.

“Even though it’s legal here in Massachusetts, cannabis is still scary and confusing to some and complicated or overwhelming to others,” said MCR Labs President and founder Michael Kahn. “We’re trying to create more opportunities for everyone to get real answers from legitimate sources since there’s still a lot of misinformation being spread about cannabis and marijuana.”

The virtual event, titled “Ask an Expert,” will feature qualified cannabis professionals from a variety of fields and specialties. The panel discussion will include Scott Churchill, Director of Scientific Operations at MCR Labs, a cannabis testing laboratory; Dr. Marion McNabb, President of the Cannabis Center of Excellence, a research and advocacy group; Dr. Benjamin Caplan, Chief Medical Officer at the CED Clinic, a medical cannabis clinic; and Noni Goldman, Co-Founder of Four Trees Management Co., a consulting firm and tier 1 cultivation provisional licensee.

By bringing together experts with a diverse array of backgrounds, the MCR Labs’ outreach team hopes to enable a broad selection of individuals with any level of cannabis knowledge to hear answers to questions ranging from highly complex to basic and introductory.

“COVID-19 has created a significant lack of educational events geared toward cannabis at the same time that many are exploring using, growing, or even joining the industry for the first time,” said MCR Labs Event & Outreach Specialist Melissa Kenton. “So, we’re trying something new for us by hosting this online event because no matter what’s happening with the virus, education is critical to helping people explore cannabis safely.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28 starting at 11 a.m. Attendees can register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/MCRLabsAskExpertEvent. Those with questions for the panel can submit them via any of MCR Labs social media accounts by messaging @mcrlabs on most platforms or by emailing the outreach team directly at news@mcrlabs.com.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Approves Policy Changes To Proposed Regulations for Adult Use Delivery in Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS:  Following a public comment period that closed October 15, the Cannabis Control Commission  on Tuesday approved additional policy changes to its draft regulations that establish two Marijuana Establishment types authorized to provide limited delivery services to adult-use cannabis consumers in the Commonwealth. A final vote on all modifications to Massachusetts’ adult and medical use of marijuana regulations will occur at a subsequent public meeting slated for October 29.

Previously referred to as Limited Delivery Licenses and Wholesale Delivery Licenses, the newly categorized Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license types discussed Tuesday aim to further the Commission’s mission to ensure meaningful participation in the legal cannabis industry by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and to satisfy consumer demand that is currently being met by illicit market participants. The Commission’s draft delivery regulations specify that both license types will be exclusively available to Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants (EEAs) and Social Equity Program (SEP) Participants for a minimum of three years, with the exclusivity period beginning once the first Marijuana Delivery Operator commences operations.

To that end, among the additional delivery changes approved Tuesday, Commissioners put in place operations restrictions, modified caps on ownership and control, and limits to financial relationships with third-party technology platform providers in order to prevent entities from dominating this emerging delivery market segment. They include:

  • Requiring that marijuana products out for distribution by a delivery licensee will be associated with a specific, individual order to prevent entities from operating as mobile warehouses or retail stores;
  • Deeming a third-party technology platform provider with any financial interest— including but not limited to, a delivery agreement or other agreement for services—in a delivery license as a person or entity having direct control over that license, and limiting such control by those providers to one delivery license;
  • Preventing a single entity from holding direct or indirect control over more than two Marijuana Delivery Operator or Marijuana Courier licenses, under the Commission’s three Marijuana Retailer or Delivery License cap, and restricting a single Marijuana Delivery Operator to maintaining one warehouse as their principal place of business or operations;
  • Underscoring that the Commission shall maintain on its website its publicly available and searchable source of information about all operating licensees and include delivery licensees; and
  • Revisiting the provisions for Marijuana Delivery Operators two years after the first entity commences operations in the Commonwealth to study the competitiveness and concentration of the license type, and if necessary, responding with further regulatory changes or guidance.

The Commission also approved policy changes that bring the adult-use delivery regulations in line with sister state agency requirements for commercial vehicles and tax collection, including:

  • Requiring that commercial vehicles used to transport or deliver marijuana or marijuana products must comply with applicable Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) requirements, but may not include any additional external marking that indicates the vehicle is being used to transport or deliver marijuana or marijuana products;
  • Clarifying that although Marijuana Delivery Operators are not considered Marijuana Retailers under the Commission’s regulations, they must register as a vendor with the Department of Revenue (DOR) and collect and remit marijuana retail taxes in accordance with DOR regulations.

The Commission’s development of Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses follows the promulgation of a Delivery-Only, Delivery Endorsement, and pre-certification licensing process in 2019 which received substantial public feedback during the agency’s current regulatory review period. The Marijuana Courier model represents an evolution of the Delivery-Only License the Commission had previously approved in 2019, and maintains those policies and provisions in order to keep barriers to industry entry low and support participation by applicants with limited capital.

In direct response to public comment received during the initial 2020 regulatory review period, the Commission approved the Marijuana Delivery Operator license authorizing businesses to purchase marijuana and finished marijuana products at wholesale from Cultivators, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, Product Manufacturers, and Microbusinesses, and sell individual orders directly to consumers. By expanding the delivery operations available to licensees, the Commission also has adopted additional compliance requirements for Marijuana Delivery Operators pertaining to wholesaling, warehousing, white labeling, and sales.

During Tuesday’s meeting the Commission acknowledged the important role of municipalities allowing for delivery licensees to operate within their borders, including the local control provisions in state law. Under the Commission’s draft regulations, licensed delivery service will be able to occur within:

  • A municipality which the delivery licensee has identified as its place of business;
  • Any municipality which allows for adult-use retail within its borders; or
  • Any municipality which, after receiving notice from the Commission, has then notified the Commission that delivery may operate within its borders.

Marijuana Retailers and Micro businesses with Delivery Endorsements will be required to inform their host municipality law enforcement authorities, including police and fire departments, about plans to deliver marijuana and marijuana products directly to consumers.

Tuesday’s session followed multiple public meetings and public comment periods held in June, July, August, and September covering proposed changes across both sets of Commission regulations. To review regulatory drafts, meeting summaries, or minutes from those discussions, visit MassCannabisControl.com. To access video recordings of previous meetings, visit the Commission’s Facebook or YouTube channels. After the Commission reconvenes October 29 to vote on the final adult and medical use of marijuana regulatory changes, those provisions will be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office for their review and promulgation.

Burns & Levinson Hosts Fourth Annual State Of The Cannabis Industry Conference Virtually On October 29, 2020

Cannabis startups invited to apply for opportunity to present one-on-one to investors in “Capital Connection” program.

MASSACHUSETTS: Burns & Levinson will host its fourth annual “State of the Cannabis Industry” conference – which will be held virtually and will focus on critical issues in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry – on October 29, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET. In addition to the event’s Q&A sessions, expert panels and keynote, Burns & Levinson is launching a new “Capital Connection” program to match cannabis industry startups with investors looking for early-stage companies to potentially fund or mentor. Cannabis startups will be selected through a competitive process to present their companies in private 20-minute online meetings with capital providers from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Emerging cannabis companies can apply here until October 16, but companies are encouraged to apply early.

The conference will feature an interview with Commissioner Steven Hoffman, Chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, in an exclusive one-on-one Q&A with Frank A. Segall, co-chair of the Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group at Burns & Levinson. Keynote speakers include: Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, and Mitchell Kahn, co-founder and CEO of Grassroots. Curaleaf, which is a leading medical and wellness cannabis operator in the U.S., closed a landmark $830 million acquisition of Grassroots in July 2020 – creating the world’s largest cannabis company.

The expert panels and Q&A sessions will tackle a wide range of issues impacting the cannabis industry including capital markets, M&A and investments, secured lending, workouts and restructurings, and developments in the hemp and CBD market.

“Despite the pandemic, we are still seeing significant business opportunities in the capital markets, investments and M&A areas to invest in and acquire cannabis, hemp/CBD and cannabis-related companies. We look forward to fostering these relationships through our Capital Connection program,” said Segall. “Even though we can’t physically be together like in previous years, we are very excited about this year’s conference and the opportunities for participants to make connections, develop partnerships and learn from our peers and industry leaders,” added Scott Moskol, who co-chairs Burns’ Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group with Segall.

The conference sponsors include: Cohn Reznick, Hub International, GFA Federal Credit Union, Nucleus One, Green Check Verified, Paragon Payroll, and Elevate Northeast.

Burns & Levinson was the first major Boston corporate law firm to develop a cannabis business practice, and has been advising cannabis businesses, entrepreneurs and investors across the country for over seven years. The firm has unrivaled experience in cannabis and hemp/CBD business formation and corporate structuring, private placements, venture capital, M&A, securities, banking issues, fund formation, debt and equity financing, restructuring and receiverships, real estate acquisitions and leasing, intellectual property protection, 280E taxation issues, and cannabis litigation.

The firm is well-known for its role in the cannabis banking industry and has worked with multiple financial institutions to establish a framework that allows them to accept cannabis-derived deposits. Burns & Levinson is currently working with regulated financial institutions and non-regulated private funds to set up first-of-their-kind cannabis lending programs. The firm is also among the top law firms in the country handling high-level corporate and financing deals in the private and public markets in the cannabis market.

For more information about the conference and to register click here. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kristen Weller at kweller@burnslev.com.

 

Mass Cannabis Control Commission To Host “Cannabis x Equity” Panel As Part Of Fierce Urgency of Now Festival

MASSACHUSETTS: The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) is proud to again partner with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake as part of their 2020 Fierce Urgency of Now (FUN) Festival by hosting a virtual panel titled “Cannabis x Equity” on Friday, September 18 at 1:00 p.m.

Interested individuals—especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by previous cannabis prohibition, arrests, and incarceration—are invited to register to attend through Eventbrite.

The panel, which will be emceed by the Commission’s Interim Director of Community Outreach Alyssa Flores, will provide attendees with a deeper understanding of Massachusetts’ regulated cannabis industry, the Commission’s equity programming, and entrepreneurial opportunities that are available in the evolving marketplace. Additionally, Friday’s conversation will help establish new connections to Commission staff and community members who are pursuing similar types of engagement in legal marijuana.

FUN “Cannabis x Equity” panelists will include participants of the Commission’s first-in-the-nation Social Equity Program and certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants, as well as Marijuana Establishment owners and founders who have been certified as “Minority-Owned Businesses” through the Commonwealth’s Supplier Diversity Office.

The Commission’s mission is to honor the will of Massachusetts voters by safely, equitably and effectively implementing and administering the laws enabling access to medical- and adult-use marijuana. Equity provisions have been enacted to fulfill a legislative mandate that the Commission ensures people from communities disproportionately harmed by marijuana law enforcement are included in the legal industry. More information about the agency’s equity programming is available at MassCannabisControl.com/EquityPrograms.

Curaleaf Opens New Cannabis Dispensary In Clearwater, Florida

New Location Marks Curaleaf’s 29th Storefront in Florida and 89th Nationwide

FLORIDA: Curaleaf Holdings, a leading vertically integrated cannabis operator in the United States and one of the largest cannabis operators in Florida, announced today that it has opened a new dispensary in Clearwater, Florida, marking its 29th retail location in the state.Curaleaf Clearwater, located at 2082 Gulf to Bay Boulevard, will carry a wide range of Curaleaf and Select brand products. Select, known as America’s #1 cannabis oil brand now available in 12 states, launched earlier this month in Florida with Select Elite Live, the brand’s new enhanced live resin product, which combines high-quality THC oil and live resin high-terpene extract. The company also recently launched the first-to-market Curaleaf sublingual tablets. The Clearwater location is the first of three new medical dispensaries the company plans to open in the market this quarter.

“Curaleaf remains committed to the Florida market and its patients by providing high-quality medical cannabis products and new consumption formats that make cannabis accessible for all,” said Joe Bayern, President at Curaleaf. “We are thrilled to open Clearwater and support the health and wellness needs of more Floridians.”

Florida’s continued growth in patient registration makes it one of the nation’s fastest-growing medical cannabis markets in the country. Currently, there are over 394,000 medical patients enrolled in the Florida program – about 1.8% of the state’s population – with approximately 5,000 new patients joining each week.

In response to COVID-19, Curaleaf continues to implement new policies and procedures, including curbside services and contactless and cashless payment through approved credit and debit card services, to keep patients, customers and employees safe during this time. To see Curaleaf’s dispensary locations in Florida, please visit www.curaleaf.com/locations/#florida.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Following the agency’s three-phased testing and public comment period, licensees may retest and release, or destroy quarantined products subject to order requirements

MASSACHUSETTS:The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) has issued a Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products following three phases of testing and a public comment period which examined conditions that could allow for the retest and sale of vaporizer products that were previously quarantined since December. Under the second amended order, licensees may retest and release—or destroy—certain products with enhanced warning labels, depending on testing and remediation outcomes, and compliance with Commission regulations and policies. The order emphasizes that measured, transparent testing mitigates, but does not eliminate, all public health risks posed by quarantined vaporizer products.

This latest action modifies previous Commission quarantine orders issued in November and December 2019 and related investigative findings from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that identified vitamin E acetate (VEA) as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product-use associated lung injury (EVALI). On December 12, 2019, the Commission issued the First Amended Quarantine Order authorizing licensees to sell newly manufactured vaporizer products, but requiring that more than 600,000 vaporizer products manufactured before December 12, 2019 remain subject to quarantine.

“Since the Commonwealth declared a vaping public health emergency last fall, the Commission has dedicated significant energy and resources to investigating the additives, hardware, and storage practices that licensees use to produce and sell cannabis vaporizer products,” Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “Fortunately, repeat tests of licensed product samples did not return any detectable levels of VEA; unfortunately, they did establish that heavy metal contamination may increase in vaping products over time.

“This new order seeks to strike a balance between those products that can be retested or remediated safely for sale or repurposing with proper warning to patients and consumers, and those that cannot. As the nation continues to learn more about the broader health implications of vaping in all forms, I urge patients and consumers to understand the risks when they choose to consume any cannabis vaporizer product.”

The Commission’s regulations require all marijuana products to undergo contaminant testing, including testing for heavy metals, by an Independent Testing Laboratory accredited to the International Organization for Standardization 17025 (ISO/IEC 17025: 2017) and in accordance with the Commission’s Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Finished Medical Marijuana Products and Marijuana-infused Products.

Under the second amended order, previously quarantined products may be:

  • Disposed. Licensees may voluntarily dispose of previously quarantined vaping products at any time, subject to Commission disposal regulations.
    • Production batches that previously failed both Commission-initiated tests for heavy metals shall be deemed unable to be remediated and face mandatory disposal, if, after two attempts at remediation, the product does not pass testing for heavy metals. Respondents may dispose of such products voluntarily or upon receiving an order of destruction from the Commission.
  • Retested and Released. Previously quarantined products may be made available for sale if they are first retested and deemed compliant with the Commission’s regulations and policies, subject to conditions specified in the order.
  • Reclaimed. Previously quarantined products may also be repurposed into other products using the reclaimed marijuana oil, although any new product manufactured with that oil must undergo testing and include a statement indicating to the patient or consumer that the product was manufactured with previously quarantined material.

If, after two attempts at remediation, retested or reclaimed products do not pass testing for heavy metals, they will be considered unable to be remediated and must be disposed. Vaporizer products with original testing dates in excess of one year are considered expired and may not be dispensed, sold, transferred or otherwise conveyed until another screen for all contaminants, excluding pesticides, is conducted. In accordance with Commission regulations, licensees must notify the agency of any vaporizer product test result exceeding acceptable levels for heavy metals and describe the method for remediation or disposal.

The second amended order also specifies labeling requirements for all vaporizer products sold by licensees in the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to those products that are retested or reclaimed in accordance with the second amended order:

  • Labels on previously vaporized products that pass retesting and are made available for sale must disclose, “This product was previously quarantined. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”
  • Labels on previously vaporized products that have their marijuana concentrate reclaimed for other marijuana products must disclose, “This product was produced using previously quarantined concentrate. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”

Retailers and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) must include in the sale of vaporizer products a disclosure that the patient or consumer may request to inspect a copy of the product’s associated testing results. Disposable and reusable vaporizer pens also must include a product insert that identifies the materials used in the device’s atomizer coil. Any quarantined vaping product that is resold also must include the item’s original packaging date.

The Commission has mandated that Marijuana Product Manufacturers retain certain records pertaining to marijuana vaporizer ingredients, additives, devices, component parts, or other materials purchased from any manufacturer or supplier; the name and business address of the manufacturer of any cartridge, battery, atomizer coil (and its materials used), hardware, or other component of marijuana vaporizer products; and the Certificate of Analysis for each thickening agent, thinning agent, and terpene infused or incorporated into a marijuana vaporizer device during production.

Starting last December, the Commission conducted three phases of testing into vaporizer products manufactured and sold by licensees. Results are available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission’s first two testing phases investigated VEA and heavy metal (lead) levels in samples of vaporizer products collected from geographically diverse locations. Phase III involved confirmatory tests of certain products that failed for heavy metal concentrations above the acceptable limits for inhalation (500 ppb), and found varying results, to suggest that heavy metal contamination may increase over time. Testing limitations identified during the investigation included limited sampling scope, product batch homogeneity, inconsistent extraction procedures for testing finished cartridge samples, and lack of known sources of metal contamination. VEA has not been detected in any Commission-initiated testing.

After testing methods precluded reliable results, the Commission determined further investigation and collaboration was necessary before issuing a second amended order pertaining to the quarantined vaping products. A survey was issued on July 2, 2020 to obtain public comment from government, industry, scientific, and public health stakeholders, among other constituents, including patients and consumers, to help identify the root cause of the heavy metal contamination, the health effects of elevated lead levels, and whether heavy metal content within vaporizer products could become more prominent without use over time or post-use. The survey closed on July 14, 2020 and public comments are currently available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission continues to research and evaluate information relative to vaporizer device product manufacturing processes and safety standards in furtherance of its obligation to ensure a safely regulated industry.

MJBA Communications Chief Stu Zakim To Moderate Panel On Cannabis In The Media At NECANN Boston

Panel of Cannabis media leaders to explore “changing attitudes, access and headlines”

MASSACHUSETTS: As reporting on cannabis migrates to a broader range of media outlets and reporters covering this beat find themselves playing catch-up to deal with the daily developments of a growing industry, MJBA‘s Communications lead, Stu Zakim, will moderate a panel at the upcoming NECANN Conference in Boston.

The panel,  “Cannabis in the Media: Changing Attitudes, Access and Headlines, 2019,” is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 at 3PM, at the Hynes Conference Center.   Zakim will be joined by a roster of senior editors from major media outlets including Dan Adams of the Boston Globe;  David Tran from DOPE Magazine; Kristin Jordan, of Manna Events, a weekly calendar listing of cannabis events and news; Brit Smith, on air personality for WBZ Radio/iHeartMedia Blunt Talk podcast; and Emmy winning sportscaster, now Cannabis-caster, Jimmy Young of Behind The Media and the Between The Weeds show.

“Massachusetts presents the media with an excellent opportunity to showcase and tell the stories behind the birth and continued growth of this industry,” said Zakim.  “I look forward to the insight these media leaders offer to help inform and educate the public and dispense the stigma surrounding Cannabis.”
NECANN_GreenBlackFor complete ticket and schedule information, please visit www.necann.com.

Administration of Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program To Transfer To Cannabis Control Commission

MASSACHUSETTS: On December 23, 2018, administration and oversight of the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program will transfer from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), a change that is mandated by Massachusetts law, Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017, AN ACT TO ENSURE SAFE ACCESS TO MARIJUANA. The law requires that the transfer take place by December 31, 2018.

During the transition, patients who are currently registered with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program should not experience any substantial change in their service. The only major change expected is the move of administration of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to a different state agency that also oversees adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts.

“We have worked very hard to put in place an effective, high-quality, and streamlined medical marijuana program that is focused on patient safety and access,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We want to assure medical marijuana patients in the Commonwealth that we have worked closely with the CCC and our constituents over the past several months to support a smooth transition of the Program and to ensure that patient access is not impacted by this change.”

DPH has overseen the Medical Use of Marijuana Program since its launch in 2014. Currently, there are 47 Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMDs) approved for sales across Massachusetts, serving more than 57,000 patients and more than 7,000 personal caregivers. The 22 staff employed by DPH as part of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program will become employees of the Cannabis Control Commission.

“The upcoming transfer of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program would not have been possible without considerable collaboration between DPH and the CCC,” said CCC Chairman Steven J. Hoffman.  “We appreciate the guidance that Commissioner Bharel and her team have provided for many months, and look forward to welcoming Program staff to the CCC who will help us maintain consistent, top-notch care that all Massachusetts patients deserve.”

The program’s website has been updated with information to answer questions that patients may have about the transfer.

For more details, contact the Medical Marijuana Program Support Center at (617) 660-5370 or by email at MedicalMarijuana@state.ma.us. For inquiries related to adult-use cannabis, call (617) 701-8400.

 

Cresco Labs Acquires Assets In Massachusetts With First Cannabis Harvest Planned For Spring 2019

ILLINOIS: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, announced a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the shares and membership interests of Hope Heal Health, Inc. and an affiliated real estate entity.

The HHH assets include state registration and licensing that will allow for cultivation, manufacturing, processing, and the establishment and operation of a medical marijuana dispensary, with the ability to obtain up to three medical marijuana dispensary licenses and three adult-use dispensary licenses. HHH has entered into host community agreements with the Massachusetts municipalities of Rockland, North Attleborough and Fall River for medical cannabis dispensaries, subject to site approval, and is in the process of applying for adult-use licenses from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. This transaction is not a material transaction for the company and closing is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2019, subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

“Massachusetts adds another attractive, high value market to our national footprint,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs. “Up until now, the medical patients of Massachusetts have had limited access to relief. We look forward to utilizing our strong capital resources, proven executional abilities, and our vertically integrated and streamlined growth-manufacturing-retail model to serve these patients and develop meaningful market share as we have in Illinois and Pennsylvania.”

HHH’s 150,0001 square foot cultivation facility in Fall River planted its first crop this week with an expected harvest in the first quarter of 2019. Cresco Labs has proven its execution efficiency with an unparalleled speed to market in the state of Pennsylvania, where it operates growing and processing facilities and three retail stores. Cresco hopes to achieve similar accomplishments in Massachusetts, subject to site approvals and barring any unforeseen delays.