Massachusetts marijuana regulators this week will consider how to approach the roll-out of retail pot after receiving feedback from Gov. Charlie Baker and marijuana advocates.
The five-member Cannabis Control Commission is set to meet over the course of three days to debate the scope of the new industry, and whether to limit it to just retail pot shops before proceeding at a later date with allowing the sale and consumption of marijuana inside places like cafes, yoga studios and movie theaters.
The commission is also considering allowing businesses that would handle the home delivery of marijuana.
Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and others who opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana have asked commissioners to go slow, and keep the roll-out to just retail shops.
But marijuana advocates say allowing a wider variety of places for recreational marijuana will help small businesses and minorities who do not have the funding to spend on getting a full-blown retail operation up and running.
“We got a lot of feedback, we are taking it to heart,” Steve Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, told reporters who pressed him on what regulators plan to do.
“I can’t forecast how the conversation is going to go, I will tell you we’ll talk about that,” Hoffman said. “But what the outcome going to be, that’s the whole point of having these meetings in public, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”
If the commissioners do end up defer some things like pot cafes and yoga studios, Hoffman said he prefers to create an explicit timeline rather than keeping it open-ended.
The commission plans to meet on Monday and Wednesday at the Massachusetts State House. On Tuesday they will gather at 101 Federal Street in the Financial District. The meetings, which will be in public, start at 10 a.m.
Based on the decisions they make over those three days, commissioners expect to vote the following week on final rules for the new industry.
Advocates also alleged that the Baker administration mounted a “calculated intimidation campaign” against the independent state commission in order to push them to focus only on retail pot shops for now.
Asked whether he felt intimidated, Hoffman said, “No.”
“I have always been focused on doing this job as well as possible, getting this right,” he added. “Nothing has changed. I feel an enormous amount of pressure to do it right, but nothing’s changed.”