Commissioners said they plan to convene a working group comprised of officials from interested towns to talk through what marijuana cafes might look like. The goal is to launch a pilot program to test the idea before it’s launched statewide.
But more critically, commissioners said the Legislature will need to revise state laws to create a formal process for towns to allow social consumption. The 2016 ballot question legalizing marijuana called for towns to file a ballot petition in a state election to allow social consumption – yet no such process currently exists.
“The law has to change first,” said Commissioner Shaleen Title. “I don’t know how long that will take. Then cities and towns have to implement their own process. If we do a pilot program it will be small. So I suspect it will be years before the whole program is expanded statewide.”
Title pointed out that Gov. Charlie Baker sought to amend state law in his supplemental budget last year to create a specific petition process, but the language ultimately did not pass.
“This is not going to happen immediately,” Title said. “It’s a matter of years.”