Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana on the ballot in 2012, and there are currently 42 dispensaries that have been given final approval to open. The Department of Public Health has been overseeing the program.
But under the state law legalizing recreational marijuana, which passed on the ballot in 2016, the Cannabis Control Commission will take the medical program over by 2019. The goal was to avoid having two separate agencies regulating marijuana.
A report dated July 13, written by the Cannabis Control Commission to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, details the steps the commission is taking to transfer technology, public records, legal and financial affairs, and other aspects of the program.
“The Department expects that it will effectuate the transfer of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program to the Commission by or before December 31, 2018,” the report states.
According to the report, the organizations have been identifying staff who will be transferred. The majority of staff will continue working out of their current office space in Boston until May 2019. In the meantime, the commission is still looking for its own office space, which will accommodate both programs.
The report states that the two agencies have been meeting to figure out how to transfer things like licenses, technology, mechanisms for collecting money, and legal authority. Some services – such as maintaining the online registration system for patients – will continue to be done by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services through interagency agreements.