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article imageMassachusetts moves closer to cannabis 'cafes' and home delivery

By Karen Graham     Jan 10, 2019 in Politics
Boston - Massachusetts is inching closer to licensing so-called “cannabis cafes” where individuals could smoke the drug in a communal setting, while also allowing for the home delivery of marijuana.
An advisory panel studying both issues has made recommendations that still have to be approved by the state's Cannabis Control Commission before any pot cafes or home delivery businesses can open, according to the Boston Globe.
The Cannabis Advisory Board’s public safety subcommittee came up with over 25 suggestions that will head to the Cannabis Control Commission where members will have to decide how to regulate both social consumption and home delivery.
In 2016, Massachusetts residents voted overwhelmingly to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Even then, supporters wanted to make sure those living in shared-housing, apartments or public housing had some place to go to use cannabis legally.
This concern led to the growing support for "cannabis cafes," or “social use establishments” where friends could meet to enjoy using marijuana with friends. The panel also recommended that the state allow licenses for "home delivery only" marijuana businesses.
Two people share a cannabis joint
Two people share a cannabis joint
Fred Dufour, AFP/File
Law enforcement and public safety concerns
Republican Governor Charlie Baker and law enforcement officials have raised concerns over the cannabis cafes, saying they could pose public safety and public health risks. However, the panel was very explicit in its language in support of the pot cafes, citing what they called the "uneven enforcement of pot laws in the past."
“In light of the need for cannabis consumers who live in public housing to have a legal place to exercise their right to smoke cannabis, and in light of the historic racial disparity in cannabis law enforcement in Massachusetts, social use establishments should be permitted so that consumers have a legal place to consume cannabis outside of their own homes,” the subcommittee said in one of its recommendations.
If this recommendation gets approved, Massachusetts would be one of only a few states to allow the consumption of marijuana in pot cafes. However, this does raise concern over driving after consuming marijuana, something that will have to be addressed.
While "home delivery only" licenses would help those small and minority businesses just getting started, while also promoting equity in the cannabis market, law enforcement officials are concerned about the safety risks to delivery drivers.
“Delivery-only is a tragedy waiting to happen,” Walpole Police Chief, and panel member John Carmichael said. “People are going to get robbed.” California, Oregon, and Nevada are the only other states that allow home delivery at this time.
More about Massachusetts, Cannabis, Cafes, home delivery, Cannabis Control Commission
 
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