MA: Marijuana Board Mistakenly Gives 10 Applicants Priority Status

Photo Credit: Steve Brown

The Cannabis Control Commission accidentally gave out priority status to 10 recreational marijuana businesses, blaming the error on a faulty transcription.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the commission has voted to withdraw the priority status approval of the 10 applicants, pending further review, saying the applicants didn’t meet the commission’s criteria.

“There are 10 applications that should have been, based on staff review and recommendations… recommended for denial,” said Cannabis Control Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins at the meeting. “They were inadvertently recommended on our approved list. It’s unfortunate. We will be in touch with those applicants to inform them this error did occur.”

The commission has been giving out priority status to existing medical marijuana dispensaries or individuals who have been disenfranchised by previous marijuana laws. Priority status allowed businesses to submit an application for a recreational marijuana license so they are at the front of the line for review when the application process opens to everybody on June 1.

In total, 813 applications for priority status were started. Half of those were never finished. The commission has approved 175. Meanwhile, 553 applications for an actual license have been started, though only 57 have completed at least one of the four-part application process. The commission can begin approving licenses starting June 1.

The error was identified late last week, the commission said, and commissioners said they then reviewed all the approvals to ensure their accuracy.

Steve Hoffman, chairman of the commission, said that unlike the priority status approval process, the licensing approval process won’t be done in batches. The commission will review fewer applications, making this kind of error unlikely, he said.

“The licensing process will be a bit more complex, like reviewing the operation plan and ensuring this will be a successfully run business and they have the ability to adhere to all our provisions,” he said. “We will review those one by one. This is transcribing this into one batch… this won’t happen with licensing because we won’t do them in batches we will do them one by one.”