One year after opening its first adult-use dispensaries, Massachusetts reportedly generated nearly $400 million in revenue, resulting in $61 million in total taxes. It was a remarkable outcome for the state, whose voters approved transitioning from medical to adult-use cannabis in 2016. While the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has been hard at work updating the state’s regulatory framework, in September 2019 the governing body approved rules for a new license type: adult-use cannabis delivery. Massachusetts is helping set the tone for expanding legalization in the Northeast, and in this post we explore how things are shaping up for cannabis delivery services in The Bay State.
The CCC’s updated rules effectively broadened delivery, which has only been allowed for medicinal cannabis since 2017(1), to also include adult-use products. With the introduction of this new licensing opportunity, cannabis business owners are able to participate in an area of the industry currently dominated by illicit market players(2).
The new rules stipulate that delivery services must sign contracts with licensed retailers, unless they are a microbusiness licensed to deliver their own products. Deliveries are allowed within an 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM window but will not be available to college and university dormitories, hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, federally subsidized housing, or the over 150 cities that have placed a ban or moratorium on adult-use cannabis(3).
Delivery employees are required to work in pairs, will be monitored by GPS, and are authorized to carry no more than $10,000 worth of product at once in order to lessen the risk of robbery. Further addressing safety concerns, regulations allow for the integration of electronic and online payments as alternatives to cash. Delivery employees are also required to wear body cameras, with two key conditions: only law enforcement will be given access to footage when needed as part of an official investigation, and videos must otherwise be deleted after 30 days.
While it will be some time before adult-use delivery rolls out statewide, for the first two years the CCC will only award licenses to participants in the state’s cannabis social equity program. Massachusetts factored social equity into its adult-use legislation from the onset to help ensure participation by communities disproportionately targeted by cannabis prohibition and enforcement. By providing an option for small business owners that represents a more even playing field and requires significantly less startup capital than retail and cultivation for example, Massachusetts continues to work toward the formation of an inclusive, equitable cannabis industry.
Join the conversation during the educational session, “Delivery in the Northeast,” at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Northeast Cannabis Business Conference. Formerly Seed to Sale Show, #NECannaBizCon invites industry experts and entrepreneurs to explore emerging business opportunities, expand their East Coast network, and engage with the latest regional insights at the only true B2B cannabis expo focused on the expanding Northeast market. Meet with NCIA members, entrepreneurs, policymakers, industry leaders, and service providers on 40,000 square feet of expo floor. It’s all happening February 19-20, 2020 at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center – Registration is now open!