“I have concerns about the supply chain in the absence of a functional testing lab,” said Commissioner Britte McBride, at the hearing. “I would like for the commission to consider that we allow the staff and give them discretion … to take those applications out of order for purposes of review so we have a supply chain.”
As of Tuesday’s commission meeting, only one lab had submitted part of an application to the state. Meanwhile, there are at least 61 other completed license applications in the queue.
It’s unclear when a completed lab application might be submitted. While there are four labs in Massachusetts to test medical cannabis, they can’t test recreational marijuana without additional licensure. Such a license requires a contract with the town, often including financial incentives for the community equal to up to three percent of gross revenues. These “host community agreements” can take several weeks to finalize.
Brian Strasnick, president and CEO of CDXAnalytics, one of four marijuana testing labs in the state, said he’s having conversations with Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll about a host community agreement.
In addition to the lack of labs, the state has yet to approve any licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries with one week remaining before July 1. Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said he expected the board to review a “handful” of licenses on Monday. The state has given a provisional licenseto Sira Naturals to cultivate recreational marijuana, conditional on several things including an updated community impact plan, fingerprints for criminal background checks, an inspection, and a paid license fee.