MRCC

Grow, Gift, Repair

Brief recap on final regulations debate today.

Shaleen Title, the only member of the commission to publicly favor the marijuana legalization law passed by voters in November 2016, offered up a proposal to delay home delivery and “social consumption” in exchange for exclusivity on those future licenses for minorities, small businesses and farmers.

The growing and gifting of marijuana became legal under Massachusetts law in December 2016, but Gov. Charlie Baker and state lawmakers tinkered with the timeline for retail pot shops.

Commissioners agreed to come up with a new timeline for “social consumption” and home delivery regulations, collecting research and information on those types of licenses, re-starting conversations in October 2018, and then issuing draft rules in February 2019.

Kay Doyle, a former state Department of Public Health official, was the sole commission to vote against the delay.

The move came after Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and local prosecutors urged commissioners to take their time setting up the industry and initially limit themselves to focusing on the opening of retail pot shops.

“The pressure campaign conducted by the governor, attorney general and others proved difficult to overcome,” Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for marijuana legalization advocates, said in an email.

“The larger issue is getting the application process up and running for the July sales start date. Additional delays would be an embarrassment for the state and a gift to black market dealers,” he added.

Commissioners are working through draft rules for oversight of the new industry that is set to grow this year.