Marijuana reform activists ask Cannabis Control Commission to adhere to deadline

Retail shops are set to open July 1, 2018

[Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

BOSTON (WWLP)—Marijuana reform activists are asking the Cannabis Control Commission to adhere to deadlines and respect the will of the voters.

Four out of five board members of the states Cannabis Control Commission voted against Question 4, the 2016 ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. They’re now tasked with overseeing regulations and licenses for the the legal marijuana industry.

Question 4 called for licensing to begin on January 1, 2018, but the legislature moved the date to July 1. 22News asked Chairman Steven Hoffman when he expects retail sales will start.

“My understanding is that it is an expectation, but not explicitly part of the law that retail establishments open July 1st of 2018 and that’s our intent at this point,” Hoffman said.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition is asking the commission to adhere to the deadline of July 1, 2018 to open recreational pot shops. In a letter to the commission, MassCann said they are “disturbed” to hear Hoffman is “treating the deadline as something optional or provisional.”

Nevada voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November and opened pot shops in July.

Marijuana reform activists are also concerned for state funding to the commission.

“Certainly they have to meet all of their deadlines,” Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for “Yes on 4,” told 22News. “They have to make sure they have adequate funding from the legislature and the governor so we’re hoping that the pressure begins immediately to get that funding because without that funding they’re not going to meet their deadlines.”

The commission is currently developing a work plan in order to get the industry up and running.