The Cannabis Control Commission voted 3 to 1 on November 30, for Massachusetts to begin marijuana home delivery in 2021.
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Three-year inclusivity period
The newly approved legislation will include a three-year inclusivity period for smaller companies, especially those most affected by the war on drugs.
Similar to services like Postmates and Uber Eats, the courier model is set to include pre-existing marijuana shops for a fee.
There will be a warehouse service as well, besides the courier services.
Warehouse services won’t need a physical storefront
While this includes dispensaries, home delivery services will be able to operate without an actual storefront, setting up e-commerce for marijuana state-wide.
As has been the case for most new marijuana legislation, there will be a limit on licenses for these services.
Limit on licenses for marijuana home delivery
Marijuana regulators in the state established the limit on licenses, allowing up to three retail licenses and a regulatory allowance of up to a combined total of two marijuana courier and/or delivery operator licenses.
Cannabis Control Commission to prohibit third-party tech companies to invest
A spokesperson for the Cannabis Control Commission stated that they’re looking to prohibit third-party tech companies to invest in the initiative and set up a brand new market with brand new investors/operators and local dispensaries.
Their intention is to also disjoint retail license caps from delivery license caps. This would allow licensees to hold up to three retailer licenses and up to a combination of two delivery operator and/or courier licenses.
The CCC has been working on this statute for the past three years.
Limitations on licenses
Limitations on who is allowed to have a license are also set. For the first three years, only social equity applicants will be granted licenses, mostly those from communities most affected by previous marijuana laws.
Participants of the Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants and Social Equity Program will have delivery application and license fees waived for the first year of licensure under the three-year exclusivity time.
The exclusivity period will allow smaller companies to get a head start on this new form of business, before the big-time companies get in.
Preventing monopolies on the marijuana market
The CCC plans to prevent monopolies, adding safeguards between third-party technology platforms and delivery licensees.
It’s explicitly prohibited to attempt to monopolize by way of inducements, investments from third-party technology platforms or restricting determinations of product and licensee placement.
Issues for pre-existing weed dispensaries
There is some fear by existing brick-and-mortar stores. The new marijuana home delivery service might affect them, as social-distancing prevails.
Especially, after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and despite reports that marijuana sales have increased and pot has proven helpful to cope with these difficult times.
Due to the three-year exclusivity period and prioritizing minorities and small businesses, dispensaries are set to challenge these new regulations.
Dispensaries were never given exclusive rights in the cannabis market. But the main focus for installing the delivery system is, without a doubt, to deal with the lack of social equity.
The future of marijuana
Marijuana home delivery, while a big win, is hardly unexpected. Most industries are facing competition from delivery services and e-commerce. This is especially the case during 2020 as these players are on the rise and seem to be the future of retail.
Exact timeframe for home delivery to be determined
Delivery will start in 2021, but there is yet to be an exact timeframe determined.
However, the process might be slower than expected. Until regulations and the licensing process is put in motion by the Secretary of State, no one can apply for licenses.
Besides, it’s nearly impossible to tell when the Cannabis Control Commission will approve licenses.