The Cannabis Control Commission must start accepting license applications from potential retailers, product manufacturers and cultivators by April 1, 2018.
The five-member commission also has to endorse regulations on protocols for independent marijuana testing facilities by May 1, 2018.
The commission can issue the first retail licenses starting on June 1, 2018. (They cannot issue approvals before that date.)
First retail pot shops slated to open — July 1, 2018
If all goes according to the timeline described above and laid out in state law, retail pot shops should open on July 1.
The specific date of July 1 is not explicitly in the Massachusetts marijuana law, but it’s the date state regulators are aiming for because it’s when people are widely expecting them to be open.
How many stores?
The number of stores that will be open to customers remains unclear.
Kamani Jefferson, the president of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council, said at a recent panel on marijuana that the state will be lucky to have 25 stores, maybe 30, by July 1.
Jim Smith, the founding partner of Smith Costello and Crawford and a former state representative from Lynn, had a more optimistic take. Also a panelist at the summit on marijuana put together by the State House News Service, Smith said there will be more than 25 shops, and could be as many as 40 to 50.
How much retail marijuana will be available?
Both Jefferson and Smith pointed to whether there’ll be enough marijuana available.
“There’s plenty of demand,” Smith said, predicting that the “Day 1 story” will be a “picture of the lines.”
Peter Bernard, president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, predicted in comments to MassLive/The Republican that the first places open “will sell out in less than a week.”