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Lawmakers again weigh reforms to local marijuana agreements

5/11/21--On Tuesday, Massachusetts lawmakers took testimony from attorneys, entrepreneurs, and advocates who slammed the state’s local approval process for marijuana companies as little more than a form of legal extortion — one they said has allowed municipalities to collect and spend millions of dollars in unjustified fees without accountability or transparency. The virtual hearing by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy centered on a handful of proposed bills that would reform how prospective cannabis operators and local officials negotiate so-called “host community agreements.” Read

An analysis of cannabis host community agreements in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

5/14/21--Sponsored by the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association, this report reflects the research of Dr. Jeffrey Moyer of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who independently refined research questions and designed and conducted analysis of Host Community Agreements between Massachusetts municipal governments and cannabis business operators. Read

Jury convicts ex-Fall River mayor Jasiel F. Correia II of extortion, wire fraud, filing false tax returns

5/14/21--Former ex-Fall River mayor Correia was found guilty of demanding bribes, ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, from four businessmen who needed his consent to open marijuana dispensaries and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors in SnoOwl, a smartphone app he helped create in 2013 while attending Providence College. US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled Correia’s sentencing for Sept. 20 and ordered him to wear a GPS device while he is free on bail. Read

Cities and towns have been abusing marijuana money, a gateway drug to corruption

5/11/21-- Former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia's trial on marijuana-related corruption charges wrapped up this week, but the verdict on the state’s new marijuana law that allow cities and towns to demand payouts from would-be marijuana businesses creates an open invitation for abuse, criminal or otherwise. The state embraced marijuana legalization as a way to create economic opportunity for marginalized populations — then created a licensing system that only the deep-pocketed and well-connected can navigate. Read

‘Jasiel was dirty’: Marijuana biz owners testify about paying bribes to former mayor

5/5/21--Steph Machado of WPRI 12 reports on marijuana business owners testifying about paying bribes to former Massachusetts mayor Jasiel Correia to obtain a letter of non-opposition — a requirement before a prospective marijuana business could apply for a license with the state Cannabis Control Commission. Read

Top Massachusetts court in a haze over local control of cannabis

5/3/21--In a test case for how much control local governments can have over the burgeoning marijuana industry, the Massachusetts high court struggled Monday to figure out if cities and towns can require some dispensaries to operate as nonprofits. Read

Jury hears testimony about former Fall River mayor’s alleged pay-for-play marijuana scheme

5/3/21--Jurors in the trial of former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia heard testimony Monday about an alleged pay-for-play scheme in the city, whereby Correia allegedly required bribes from prospective marijuana shop owners in exchange for his signature on a crucial document. Read

Boston pot supermarket given green light, may open this week

4/26/21--Ascend, one of the country’s biggest legal marijuana companies, is preparing a “soft opening” with a target date of Thursday for a 16,000-square-foot dispensary. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has backed the shop, and it will be the city’s biggest dispensary. The company operates similar stores in Illinois and New Jersey, catering to both medical patients and legal recreational pot users. Read

‘Shakedowns’ are at the center of former Fall River mayor’s federal corruption trial, prosecutors say

4/26/21--During the federal corruption trail for former Fall Rivers mayor Jasiel F. Correira II, it was stated that Correira extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from four marijuana vendors seeking to open dispensaries in the city, forced his chief of staff to give him half her salary, and stole more than $230,000 from investors in a tech start-up he created. Yet, Correia’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, told jurors Correia is not guilty of any of the 24 counts he faces and portrayed him as a victim of overzealous investigators and cooperating witnesses who are lying. Read

Flavored tobacco product restrictions in Massachusetts associated with reductions in adolescent cigarette and e-cigarette use

3/8/21--This study examines the associations between county-level flavored tobacco product restrictions, tobacco 21 policies and smoke-free laws prohibiting e-cigarettes with adolescent cigarette and e-cigarette use in Massachusetts, and to assess whether policy effects varied by age. Results indicate adolescents in Massachusetts decreased their use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes in response to local restrictions that limited the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only retail tobacco stores. Read

Massachusetts Medical Society reverses course on marijuana

12/30/20--Eight years after the legalization of medical marijuana and four years after adoption of recreational cannabis, the Massachusetts Medical Society has recognized cannabis as a medical therapy. Read

Marijuana home delivery set to start in 2021

12/30/20--Home delivery of adult-use cannabis — expected to start in 2021 — will include a three-year exclusivity period to level out the playing field for smaller companies affected by the drug war after a vote by state marijuana regulators. There will be two different types of delivery licenses available: courier and warehouse. Read

Marijuana company presents before Mashpee board ahead of recreational sales

1/1/21--On December 21, the Mashpee Board of Selectmen received an update from M3 Ventures, a marijuana company that plans to open a recreational dispensary adjacent to its existing medical dispensary on Echo Road. According to Lianne Ankner, president of M3 Ventures, the recreational facility could open as soon as April 1, and recreational sales will take place in temporary structures that will be attached to the existing medical facility until construction on a new recreational facility is completed. Read

After landlord’s change of heart, West Coast marijuana brand Cookies could land in Harvard Square

8/19/20--Back in 2017, the Harvard Square landlord filed a federal racketeering lawsuit to prevent the Healthy Pharms medical marijuana dispensary from opening near his Galleria building, calling such businesses “bad neighbors.” But, now, in an unusual public letter recently published, Dhanda said his previous views were “misinformed” and have “evolved” after meeting with local Black marijuana entrepreneurs. Read

Marijuana regulators approve major shift in delivery model

8/31/20--The Cannabis Control Commission agreed to a major change in how marijuana delivery companies can operate, in response to an outcry from potential entrepreneurs who said the model initially envisioned by their regulations was financially unworkable. Read

NETA’s parent company, Parallel, just approved $3 million for research medical effects of cannabis on diseases like Sickle Cell

8/6/20--Parallel, which owns NETA, has approved $3 million in grants to aid in medical research of cannabis. The grant money will be used to partner with the University of Pittsburg for a 10-year study researching the effects of medical cannabis. Read

Mass. marijuana regulators fine Acreage Holdings $250,000 for attempting to exceed license cap

7/9/20--National marijuana operator Acreage Holdings has agreed to pay Massachusetts $250,000 to resolve charges that it attempted to control more dispensaries than allowed by law. With Acreage already pursuing several dispensary licenses through its directly owned Botanist subsidiary, regulators said, the management deals threatened to put the conglomerate in control of five or more marijuana retailers — well over the legal maximum of three. Read

The hidden titans of pot

4/30/20--The three-part series, "Hidden Titans of Pot," uncovers stealth moves by large investors poised to dominate this nascent industry and outmaneuver regulators. Read

Massachusetts medical marijuana registrations spike 245 percent

4/23/20--A record-shattering number of Massachusetts residents obtained medical marijuana cards over the past month, a spike that followed Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to deem recreational cannabis stores “nonessential” and close them amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read

Baker says reopening recreational marijuana shops amid coronavirus outbreak is a ‘non-starter’

3/31/20--Despite pleas from leaders in the cannabis industry to reopen adult-use marijuana stores, Governor Charlie Baker defended his choice Tuesday to keep them closed, even while deeming medical dispensaries “essential" and allowing them to remain open. Read

Getting a medical marijuana card is easier than you think

4/1/20--Due to some recent regulatory changes, getting a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts is an easy process. For starters, the temporary Cannabis Control Commission process meant to support social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, offers initial appointments (and required annual certification renewals) that can now be conducted over the phone. The agency also recently eliminated state fees for medical patients. Read

Cannabis users, shops suffer high anxiety after Massachusetts shuts down recreational sales

4/1/20--Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker ordered the temporary closure of nonessential businesses, including recreational marijuana stores, last week in response to the coronavirus outbreak. However, medical marijuana dispensaries in her state, which have been allowed to stay open, reportedly saw massive lines as people feared worse things could be coming, like the potential need to self-quarantine. On Tuesday, Baker extended his order until early May. Read

Coronavirus: Cannabis Control Commission to study medical marijuana supply chain after spike in patient applications during COVID-19 pandemic

4/3/20--As the cannabis industry in Massachusetts has been jolted by the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the sale of recreational marijuana through at least early next month, there has been a spike in the number of registrations for new medical patients. However, with that increase comes concern about the marijuana supply chain. Read

Marijuana businesses are playing the waiting game in the state’s budding industry

3/3/20--WGBH News' Tori Bedford and Amanda Beland documented what they found in a two-part series after going through nearly 500 Host Community Agreements, or HCAs, which are contracts that include the perks pot shops negotiate with local communities. Evidently, the uncovered documentation indicates that these agreements aren't really helping the communities envisioned by the legal marijuana system in Massachusetts. Read

Are recreational marijuana shops preparing to open in your town? Check our maps

3/3/20--The maps and tables presented by The Boston Globe are based on data from the Cannabis Control Commission, show where prospective retail operators hope to set up shop to sell recreational marijuana for consumers, as well as the stores that have already opened. Read

Meet the new Boston Cannabis Board

3/4/20--Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed five members to the board, which will issue recommendations on which marijuana companies should receive local licenses and advise Walsh’s office on cannabis regulation and policy. Its creation follows criticism that Boston’s previous process for choosing pot operators has been slow and opaque, giving an advantage to better-connected and wealthier firms. Read

Marijuana host community bill on House agenda

2/3/20--The Massachusetts House is taking up legislation that gives state cannabis regulators the authority to review and regulate the agreements marijuana businesses are legally required to enter into with their host municipalities. Marijuana advocates and regulators have been wrestling with the issue of host community agreements (HCAs) for more than a year. Read

Packies argue more beer, wine sellers also mean more pot shops

1/13/20--A proposed ballot question that would increase the number of stores selling alcohol could inflate the minimum number of marijuana retail licenses a municipality must give out, an unintended consequence that could sway voters on the initiative. Read

Curaleaf prepares to open Cape’s first recreational marijuana shop

1/20/20--Curaleaf recently received a final license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to operate an adult retail location. It may be opening as early as next week in Provincetown as the first recreational marijuana dispensary in Cape Cod. Read  

Boston subpoenaed by grand jury in marijuana corruption probe

11/7/19--A federal grand jury has subpoenaed the City of Boston for records of interactions between local officials and marijuana company representatives. The demand makes the city the most prominent subject yet of a wide-ranging investigation into municipal corruption by the office of US Attorney Andrew Lelling. Read

Are recreational marijuana shops preparing to open in your town? Check our maps

11/1/19--The maps and tables shown, based on data from the commission, are where prospective retail operators hope to set up shop to sell recreational marijuana for consumers, as well as the stores that have already opened. Read

‘It’s honestly hell.’ Hospitals see rare vomiting syndrome in heavy marijuana consumers

11/11/19--Since recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts three years ago, hospitals have noticed more cases of a rare illness afflicting a small portion of heavy cannabis consumers. The condition, called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, can be horrific for patients, causing intense abdominal pain, nausea, and days-long vomiting episodes that are strangely relieved by hot showers or baths. The illness can be cured by quitting pot. Read

Curaleaf gets OK to open its first recreational marijuana store in Mass.

10/17/19--Curaleaf, one of the country’s biggest marijuana companies, received its final approval from Massachusetts cannabis regulators Thursday to open its first recreational marijuana store in the state. The Cannabis Control Commission issued Curaleaf Massachusetts Inc. its “commence operations” notice Thursday, giving it approval to begin adult-use sales at its Oxford store after three calendar days — as early as Monday. Read

High-schoolers’ pot use fell in the decade before legalization. Will that continue?

9/16/19--Fewer Massachusetts high school students used marijuana in the years before the state’s first marijuana stores opened last year, according to a new report. However, it’s too early to know whether these trends have changed since legalization. But officials said the report, by the state Cannabis Control Commission, establishes a baseline for future study. Read

Let’s rein in the CBD gold rush

7/11/19--Despite the fact that CBD is everywhere, it still exists partly in a legal gray area. Some states are cracking down on sales of CBD products, while others are allowing CBD to be sold widely under certain conditions. The almost-unprecedented scale of the business potential in the CBD market is what’s causing the rush. Sales of products infused with hemp-derived CBD are expected to reach $5 billion this year, according to recent industry estimates. That represents a 700 percent increase from last year. Read

Will 2019 be the summer of marijuana in Massachusetts?

7/10/19--Although public consumption of marijuana remains illegal in Massachusetts, it hasn’t stopped people from consuming it outside. In fact, many companies are using this summer to make themselves more visible in their communities via events. Proponents say many concerns over the increase in marijuana visibility could be alleviated by a better understanding of the product, as well as debunking long-held myths. Read

Let states decide marijuana policies

7/1/19--In a press release presented by Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington, she expresses her belief that the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES Act) should be passed that was recently reintroduced by Senators Warren and Cory Gardner, and representatives from each party in the House. By amending parts of the Controlled Substances Act, the legislation prevents the federal government from interfering in marijuana laws set by states and territories, and removes the threat of federal prosecution. Read

Operator of Franklin marijuana facility to be sold

6/14/19--The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) on Thursday approved the sale of New England Treatment Access (NETA), which operates a marijuana cultivation facility in Franklin. The sale of NETA to Surterra was the fifth change of control or ownership application approved by the CCC. Read

The slippery slope of looser drug policy

5/13/19--Seemingly, voters in Denver have approved Measure 301, which will decriminalize the use of so-called “magic mushrooms,” better known as psilocybin. Psilocybin has been outlawed in the U.S. since the 1960s; some researchers warn that it should only be used under medical supervision and can prompt paranoia and anxiety. The federal government classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, with no medical purpose and a high potential for abuse. Read

Public safety remains concern two years after legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts

4/13/19--More than two years after recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts, officials say the concern for public safety in the age of legal weed remains a priority. Public officials and experts are weighing in on the possible consequences that the developing marijuana industry could have on the state; in particular, the dangers of impaired driving and the fact some cannabis consumers are sustaining the black market out of personal convenience. Read

Marijuana delivery: How Mass. may try to help those hurt by war on drugs

2/15/19--A state panel voted that home delivery of marijuana should be allowed in Massachusetts — and for five years grant those business licenses only to small companies and people from communities disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. The near-unanimous vote by the Cannabis Advisory Board was an effort to redress the historically high rate of pot arrests among black and Hispanic people and help them join a capital-intensive industry dominated by well-heeled corporations. Read

Cops: South Boston smoke shop owner arrested for illegally selling marijuana

2/11/19--The store clerk and owner of King Smoke Shop have been arrested for selling marijuana illegally in the store, police said. As a result of the investigation officers were able to accumulate sufficient evidence and cause to charge both employees of the establishment with the unlawful sale of marijuana. Read

Impaired lawmaking

1/31/19--Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are making a case for the Commonwealth to punish impaired marijuana drivers, and they’re seemingly doing so at the request of the law enforcement lobby. Read

Cannabis panel seeks authority to scrutinize shops’ pacts with towns

1/11/19--State marijuana regulators will seek greater authority to crack down on excessive payments cities and towns demand from marijuana companies in exchange for permission to locate within their borders, saying many of the contracts signed so far go beyond apparent legal limits on their value. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission voted 4-1 Thursday to ask the Legislature for more authority to review such deals, which are required to win a state marijuana license. Read

Smoke and mirrors: Massachusetts’ recreational cannabis industry navigates tricky regulatory terrain

1/11/19--On November 20, Massachusetts made history as the first state east of the Mississippi River where adults can legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. Although the robust demand may be validation for Massachusetts’ marijuana advocates, marijuana companies face an array of obstacles, from financial hurdles to regulatory barriers, that have made life more difficult than the booming business might otherwise suggest. Read

Georgia marijuana company agrees to buy New England Treatment Access

1/14/19--New England Treatment Access, one of the state’s early medical marijuana operators and the first to sell recreational pot in Massachusetts, has agreed to be acquired by Atlanta-based Surterra Wellness. This acquisition is one of the largest to date in the US marijuana industry. The deal, which is subject to approval by the state Cannabis Control Commission, comes amid a wave of consolidation in the Massachusetts marijuana industry. Read

First impaired driving campaign launched since retail marijuana sales began

12/10/18--Since marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, a new campaign to crack down on impaired driving is now underway.  The campaign is titled 'Plan Ahead, Get A Ride' and will urge motorists to find a safe, sober ride home - whether that be from a friend, public transportation, a cab, or ride-sharing services - before the festivities begin. Read

Where marijuana stores can — and can’t — open in Mass.

10/19/18--Recreational marijuana sales are now legal in Massachusetts, but there are some cities and towns that might never sell the drug. More than 80 communities have enacted an outright ban on recreational marijuana shops. Another 110 have some sort of moratorium in place, ostensibly to give the city or town time to put zoning rules in place. Read

4 lessons from the Mass. marijuana law roll-out

11/20/18--More than two years after Massachusetts voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the first two stores are set to open on Tuesday. The long wait has been symbolic of some of the frustrating ways the legalization law has so far failed to live up to its potential to spur economic development and address inequities. The Boston Globe presents 4 lessons from the introduction of the Massachusetts marijuana law. Read

The Boston Globe creates a new section dedicated to marijuana coverage

11/19/18--The Boston Globe launched a new section of Globe.com dedicated to covering the politics, business, use, and impact of marijuana in the Northeast with a primary focus on the New England states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The Globe will bring the resources of New England’s largest newsroom to cover the cultural, business, and legal aspects of marijuanas, and facilitate conversations across the Northeast. Read

Marty Walsh on pot shops: Hope ‘taxation’s worth the human toll’

11/23/18--On the same day Boston pushed its first recreational license, Mayor Martin J. Walsh cautioned against the “human toll” of marijuana by stating, “I hope the taxation’s worth the human toll. It’s the law now, and Boston will be opening up its very first marijuana facility probably early next year.” More than 50 marijuana businesses consisting of recreational, medicinal, and growing facilities have sent applications of interest to the city. Read

Letter: Selling out our children, residents for cannabis profits

10/6/18--Telegram.com published a scathing letter by Deb Chura of Fitchburg stating her disappointment about the city council not holding meetings to talk about medical marijuana. Chura urges people not to be in favor of marijuana for medical use, and openly states in her letter, "there is a huge cost to this, your life, and the lives of those you love, which are at stake." Read  

Charlton residents help shape proposed marijuana zoning amendment

9/26/18--Residents at a Planning Board public hearing Wednesday helped shape the proposed marijuana zoning amendment that voters will decide at the Oct. 15 special town meeting. The Planning Board has reworked the controversial Article 27 adopted at the May town meeting. The proposed amendment would restrict all marijuana-related business to industrial zoned land, with a special permit from the Planning Board. Read

Mayor says pot rally left an ‘appalling’ mess on Boston Common

9/26/18--Mayor Martin J. Walsh and some members of the Boston City Council are unhappy with leaders of the annual, marijuana-themed “Freedom Rally” held on Boston Common earlier this month, with Walsh saying the three-day event left an “appalling” mess. Representatives of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition acknowledged that several vendors had failed to clean up, as required. Read


9/26/18--The Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association (MassCBA) is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to be the convener, voice, and advocate for the Commonwealth’s cannabis business community, including businesses providing ancillary services. Read

Event aims to help millennials of color break into the marijuana business

9/26/18--The Boston Cannabis Control Commission, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Roxbury’s National Center of Afro-American Artists hosted an event on Tuesday night for millennials of color to network and talk about equity and breaking into the retail marijuana industry. Read

Many towns demand extra payments from pot shops despite law’s restrictions

9/28/18--A Business Journal review of 34 host community contracts between marijuana dispensaries found that 24 cities and towns require the businesses to make additional payments beyond the cap of 3 percent cap of annual revenues stipulated in the law. Read

Marijuana dispensary slams state for pesticide bust

9/13/18--Members of the Massachusetts medical marijuana industry are warning that a state crackdown on their use of pesticides would cripple growing operations and threaten the supply of cannabis to patients who rely on the drug. Read

Mass. credit union will serve recreational marijuana companies

9/14/18--GFA Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Gardner, Massachusetts, will become the first financial institution in the state to offer banking services to recreational marijuana companies, a step that will allow consumers to pay for pot with plastic and helps cannabis businesses avoid the expensive and risky proposition of running all-cash operations. Read

Marijuana growers threaten to sue Cannabis Commission

9/11/18--Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, an organization representing Massachusetts marijuana growers, is considering a lawsuit to compel the Cannabis Control Commission to review the statutorily required agreements between marijuana businesses and their host towns, something the CCC has resisted doing under the impression it does not have the authority to do so. Read