David Torrisi, the head of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, said the medical marijuana operators that comprise his group are raring to jump into the recreational — or technically, “adult-use” — market.
“They want to open up like everyone else,” he said. “They receive, five, 10, 15 phone calls a day from people who want to buy adult-use marijuana. I feel we’re getting very close.”
He added: “For some of the first ones that got provisional licenses, I think late October is realistic.”
Torrisi said that the commission isn’t to blame for the hold up, but sympathized with the frustration of consumers.
“In one year, to build an agency, staff an agency, write regulations, approve applications, do inspections — if you look at it through that prism, they’re doing fine,” he said. “If you look at it from the perspective of, this [law] passed two years ago, I get it.”
Hoffman said Thursday that one inspection had been completed and several others were underway or scheduled for the near future. If those companies pass their inspections, the commission may issue a final license at its next meeting in two weeks, he said.
The commission so far has awarded 38 provisional licenses to marijuana companies, among them retailers, cultivators, processors, and labs.
Even after obtaining a final license, however, marijuana companies must register all their cannabis plants and marijuana products in the state’s “seed-to-sale” tracking system, verify that the products have been lab-tested, and pass a final inspection — including a check on whether all its employees are licensed — before actually receiving a “commence full operations” notice to allow sales.
Hoffman acknowledged that consumers are impatient, and said he was “pretty confident” shops would open by the end of the year.
“We’re getting closer and closer, and we’re doing it the right way,” Hoffman said. “I will not apologize for the behavior of the commission. I will say I’m sorry for people that had expectations that were not met — it’s never a good thing.”
“We are focused on and totally committed to building this industry in a way that works for the state of Massachusetts and the citizens over the long haul,” he added, “and that’s much more important than the start date.”