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Mass. cannabis executives ‘look forward to safely reopening’ after meeting with governor’s advisory board

A group of Massachusetts cannabis industry representatives on Saturday has made its pitch to a reopening advisory board appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association, among those at the meeting, says it has a COVID-19 safety plan that incorporates national best practices and input from all its 38 members.

In addition to the CDA, industry representatives that met with the 17-member advisory board on Saturday morning were Joseph Lusardi, the CEO of Curaleaf, Amanda Rositano, the president of NETA, Jay Youmans, a principal at Smith, Costello & Crawford and Kobie Evans, a co-founder of Pure Oasis in Boston, the first economic empowerment applicant to open in the state.

“We are greatly appreciative to the Lieutenant Governor [Karyn Polito], Secretary [of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy], and the advisory board for their time and service,” said David Torrisi, the president of the CDA, in a statement on Saturday afternoon. “We look forward to safely reopening the Massachusetts economy in close collaboration with the Administration.”

Recreational marijuana shops have been closed since March 24 after being deemed non-essential by Baker. Massachusetts is the only state with legal marijuana that has shut down recreational businesses during the pandemic. Medical marijuana, however, was deemed essential.

The CDA represents 80% of the state’s medical and adult-use industry, according to the statement.

In the time since recreational marijuana stores have been closed, the CCC has reported a spike in new registrations of medical patients. That increase in medical patients led to concern about the medical supply chain. The commission last month decided to allow the recreational market to support the medical market with wholesale transfers.

During the pandemic, the CCC has allowed medical dispensaries to offer curbside pickup to patients and has said patient renewal certifications can be submitted after a phone consultation.