Grow, Gift, Repair

Waivers for transfers from medical to recreational

New England Treatment Access, or NETA, was one of two adult use marijuana dispensaries given a final license by the Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday, the penultimate step in a lengthy process to begin sales of recreational marijuana. The final step is an inspection of the business. The regulator has said recreational sales could begin in a matter of weeks.

But unlike Cultivate, a Leicester-based medical marijuana company that received a recreational license from the state for every part of its supply chain — from retail to cultivation to product manufacturing — NETA’s Northampton dispensary plans to begin recreational sales with only a retail license. That’s because NETA plans to transfer cannabis from its medical marijuana cultivation facility to the recreational dispensary.

The loophole essentially allows a dispensary with a medical marijuana license to bypass state laws that require each piece of the recreational marijuana supply chain to be licensed. NETA has received a provisional approval for its recreational cultivation license, but won’t have to wait until it is finalized to begin adult use sales.

“There’s provision in the regulations that allow us to transfer a portion of the inventory from our medical operation to be sold as adult use,” said Amanda Rositano, director of operational compliance at NETA. “We’re doing everything we can to prepare. We’ve worked really hard to amp up our production and we’re doing everything we can to meet the demand in the best way we can.”

The Department of Public Health, which oversees the medical marijuana market, and the Cannabis Control Commission, which oversees the recreational market, confirmed that they would allow a recreational dispensary to pull supply from a medical cultivator within the same company, even if the medical cultivator hadn’t yet been given a recreational license.

“In order to receive approval to transfer a portion of their medical marijuana product inventory to the adult sales market, the (medical marijuana dispensary) must be wholly owned by the same entity as the applicant seeking licensure from the CCC or the establishment licensed by the CCC,” the regulators said in a joint statement. “DPH does not consider the type of licensure that the entity has or has applied for with the CCC in its review of the request to transfer.”