MA: Marijuana Licenses Expected Soon After June’s Arrival

Photo Credit: North Bay Business Journal

The Cannabis Control Commission will get the legal green light to begin issuing business licenses at the end of this week, but the agency’s top regulator suggested Tuesday it may be two weeks before the commission begins approving licenses.

Under the state’s marijuana law, the CCC must wait until June 1 before it can issue licenses for businesses it expects to begin opening on July 1. In anticipation of June 1, prospective businesses have started 834 license applications and 84 have begun submitting partial application information to the commission.

CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said Tuesday that he expects next week to be “action-packed” for the commission, but was unable to say whether the CCC would begin reviewing and issuing license applications next week.

“I think that it is probably premature for me to answer that question. We’re working hard,” Hoffman told reporters after the CCC’s weekly meeting when asked if the commission expects to begin reviewing applications next week. “We’re doing our work but we are also dependent upon getting the feedback in terms of background checks … we’re required to get feedback from the cities and towns that their requirements have been met (and) I just can’t comment on their timeline.”

Hoffman added, “I can say, for sure, we’re hitting our timelines in terms of the processing we can do ourselves as opposed to third parties.”

In total, 84 prospective marijuana businesses have submitted at least one “packet” of the application to the CCC and 38 have submitted all four necessary packets. The CCC has begun its review of those applications.

Applying for a marijuana business license is a multi-step process and the application is made up of four “packets” that the applicant must submit to the CCC — an application of intent, a background check, a management and operations profile, and payment of the application fee. If the application is approved, payment of the license fee becomes the fifth and final step in the process.

Executive Director Shawn Collins said Tuesday that the first step in the process is to make sure what has been submitted is complete. Then the CCC begins the background check process through a vendor, a process which could take up to 15 days, and asks the city or town in which the applicant hopes to operate to certify within 60 days whether the applicant has cleared local hurdles, Collins said. He said the CCC tries “to get those out as quickly as possible.”

From the time the CCC determines an application to be complete, the agency has 90 days to either approve or deny the license application.

Of the 38 applications already under review by the CCC’s licensing staff, 16 are seeking to cultivate marijuana, 10 are hoping to act as retailers, eight want to manufacture marijuana products, three of the applications are to operate a research lab and one person has applied to transport marijuana, according to data presented at Tuesday’s meeting.

Once it begins reviewing license applications, the CCC plans to alternate between considering registered marijuana dispensary (RMD) companies and applications from participants in the CCC’s economic empowerment program.