Despite pleas from leaders in the cannabis industry to reopen adult-use marijuana stores, Governor Charlie Baker defended his choice Tuesday to keep them closed, even while deeming medical dispensaries “essential” and allowing them to remain open.
Baker has repeatedly said his biggest concern about reopening adult-use stores is attracting hoards of out-of-state customers, which could further spread the coronavirus virus throughout Massachusetts. The governor has already asked anyone traveling to Massachusetts from out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days.
At his daily press conference Tuesday, Baker reiterated those concerns.
“There is tons of evidence that because Massachusetts is one of the few states in the Northeast that’s legalized recreational marijuana, that if we make recreational marijuana available as an essential business … we are going to have to deal with the fact that people are going to come here from all over the place, across the Northeast, and create issues for us with respect to the fundamental issue we are trying to solve for here, which is to stop the spread,” he said. “And for that reason and that reason alone, I think this is just, it’s a non-starter with us.”
In an effort to assuage Baker’s fears about out-of-state customers, many in the cannabis industry, including cannabis Commissioner Shaleen Title, have recommended reopening adult-use marijuana stores for Massachusetts residents exclusively.