What is the Cannabis Control Commission?
May 6th, 2019
Back in 1969, a full 84 percent of Americans felt that marijuana should remain illegal. As the benefits of this plant became more apparent – and fear-based propaganda diminished – public perception completely reversed. In fact, two-thirds of Americans now believe weed should be legalized. This explains why Massachusetts residents voted to decriminalize marijuana, and it’s been the state’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) that’s overseen the industry since December 2018.
What is the Commission?
After the legalization of recreational marijuana use in July 2017, the Department of Health was tasked with overseeing the industry. While the Cannabis Control Commission was appointed in September of that year, it wouldn’t be until the end of 2018 when it took charge of the industry’s administration. The commission is involved in all aspects of regulation, but their mission statement is a simple one:
“To honor the will of the voters of Massachusetts by safely, equitably and effectively implementing and administering the laws enabling access to medical and adult use marijuana in the Commonwealth.”
The Cannabis Control Commission consists of five commissioners. The Governor, Attorney General and Treasurer get to choose one member each. They must then reach a majority decision on the remaining two commissioners. These individuals are tasked with regulating recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts, but they aren’t alone in the process.
The Cannabis Advisory Board was established at the same time as the Cannabis Control Commission. It has 25 members and is tasked with studying and providing recommendations to the commission. Their focus is the taxation and regulation of marijuana in the state.
What Does the Cannabis Control Commission Do?
Each member of the Cannabis Control Commission is tasked with different areas of responsibility. The chairman, for instance, deals with the medical marijuana industry and the lobbying of financial institutions to lend to cannabis-based businesses. The following tasks – all of which would seem like obvious duties of such a statewide commission – are handled by the CCC.
- Issuance of cannabis-based business licenses.
- Deciding upon and establishing regulations.
- Research and development.
- Collect statistics and economic data for public release.
- Address potential public safety concerns (e.g. DUI).
In essence, the Cannabis Control Commission is involved in every area of the Massachusetts marijuana industry. It’s also worth noting, though, that they focus on equity and diversity. Those who have been more adversely impacted by cannabis criminalization in the past receive preferential treatment. Businesses must also show plans for inclusion and diversity prior to receiving a license.
What’s New with the Cannabis Control Commission?
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is tasked with regulating a new industry, so it’s no surprise that things are happening fast. Here are just a few of the latest developments within the commission.
- Marijuana delivery: In a 4-1 vote on April 26, the commission decided to allow marijuana delivery throughout the state. The public will still be allowed a comment period, but the delivery of cannabis to residential addresses could start as early as this year.
- First license denial: The Cannabis Control Commission issued its first license rejection on April 25. They stated that the business’s diversity and positive impact plans were insufficient. This showed that the commission is more than just a rubber stamp – as some detractors have claimed.
- Focus on local businesses: Chairman Steven Hoffman recently announced that the commission wouldn’t allow major national companies to take over and dominate the local industry. This is another sign that the group really is dedicated to using its power to improve Massachusetts.
Paving the Way Forward
In the two months following the first recreational marijuana store openings, Massachusetts earned around $4 million in tax revenue from sales. This new venture has proven very beneficial for The Bay State, and it’s the Cannabis Control Commission that’s leading the way forward. The commission’s diverse goals promise to improve the lives of those living in the state, and this is the case even for individuals who don’t partake in the once illegal substance.
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