Grow, Gift, Repair

WGBH breaks down looming problems ahead.

JM: We got the timing issue obviously and we’ve talked about this. What about some of the other reasons why we might not see many pot shops open over the summer? Is this a legal issue or are these just practical problems?

DM: I think both. In terms of practical issues, the biggest barrier is the lack of supply. It takes four to six months to grow marijuana and cultivation licenses are only forthcoming this month apparently. So there’s going to be a lag time. That means that the only businesses that are positioned in terms of having existing stock to be operational this summer are medical marijuana dispensaries. I think there are 24 of them right now and some of them have sought retail licenses. So if some of those retail licenses come through they might be able to get up and running over the summer.

Otherwise we’re thinking much later on in 2018 in terms of legal hurdles. More than half of the cities and towns in Massachusetts have implemented bans, moratoriums banning pot shops from within their borders. What’s more, even in communities that haven’t instituted these bans they have the right to set up a number of local permitting and zoning ordinances that might have the practical effect of serving as barriers to entry. So it’s really a combination of practical and legal hurdles.