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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

MassCBA

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

Northborough, Bellingham now told they cannot prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries

9/11/18--Six days after confirming approval of medical marijuana dispensary bans in Northborough and Bellingham, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office reversed its decision. Officials in the AG’s office said they revisited the earlier decisions and the law and determined an error had been made - municipalities are not allowed to ban medical marijuana establishments. The office wrongly treated marijuana for medical use issues like adult-use recreational marijuana. Read

Marijuana shops could open in Mass. by early fall

9/6/18--Recreational marijuana stores could open in Massachusetts in early fall, according to state Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman. The commission, which had initially aimed to have retail pot stores up and running by July 1, has issued provisional licenses to 30 existing medical marijuana facilities, including retail shops and cultivators. Read

Federal officials investigating alleged marijuana delivery service in Hyde Park

9/7/18--Federal agents investigating Northern Herb, an alleged unlicensed marijuana delivery business, found “substantial” quantities of the drug and cash last month when they raided a residence in Milton and a warehouse in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, according to recent court filings. Read

Private Worcester marijuana club working to maintain a ‘good neighbor’ image

9/5/18--Six months after opening its doors, members and the operator of The Summit Lounge - a private, membership-based cannabis club - say they’re primarily focused on gaining acceptance. “It’s not so much about the cannabis,” says Kyle Moon, general manager of The Summit Lounge. “It’s about finding a segment of the population that has a need that needs to be met and serving them to the best of our ability and trying to remove that negative stigma from us." Read

Massachusetts refuses to referee marijuana testing dispute

8/21/18--Mandated laboratory testing would ensure that cannabis products sold in regulated stores are free of pesticides, mold, and other contaminants. Yet, a bitter scientific and business feud has split into two camps the state’s four marijuana testing labs, which currently serve medical dispensaries and will soon join the lucrative recreational market. The state Department of Public Health, which oversees medical marijuana, has declined to referee the dispute or update its testing regime, despite warnings from the labs that a lack of standards and holes in protocols are undermining confidence in the system. Read

State’s new marijuana ads strike friendly tone

8/10/18--A new public awareness campaign is adopting a gentler, non-judgmental tone as officials work to educate Massachusetts residents on the state’s cannabis laws and to decrease youth use rates. The campaign, dubbed “More About Marijuana,” was unveiled Thursday by the state Cannabis Control Commission and Department of Public Health, and includes two 30-second animated videos and a website. Read

Driving stoned: Massachusetts standard needed

8/9/18--State public safety officials are viewing stoned driving as a major problem. They may be doing their best to head it off, but without changes in the law, their best won’t be good enough. With medical marijuana already on the scene and the first recreational pot shops being licensed, the case for keeping drugged drivers from getting behind the wheel has grown more urgent. Read

Howie Carr: Legalizing pot is a catastrophic call

8/12/18--Howie Carr of Boston Herald Radio strongly believes that legalizing marijuana is an absolutely terrible idea, and he candidly expresses his reasons why in an editorial published in Boston Herald. Read

Cannabis working group adds to marijuana bylaw

7/6/18--The town’s Cannabis Working Group has made some recommended additions to a proposed general bylaw governing marijuana establishments conducting business in Bourne. The bylaw, which was approved in draft form by the Bourne Planning Board, is to be presented to residents for approval at Special Town Meeting in October. Recommendations made by the Cannabis Working Group included restrictions and enforcement on smoking cannabis in public and the hours of operation for marijuana establishments. Read

UMass researchers contribute to key statewide marijuana study

7/5/18--In an attempt to understand cannabis use in the state before recreational marijuana sales soon begin, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a “marijuana baseline health study.”  The study — an effort conducted in no small part by University of Massachusetts researchers — provides a snapshot of patterns of and perceptions of marijuana use, the prevalence of hospitalizations and impaired driving, and the economic impacts of cannabis for state and local government. Read

Rockport to hold marijuana discussion

3/18/18--The Board of Health is hoping to lead a discussion about what the presence of recreational marijuana establishments could mean to Rockport residents. The event is meant to stoke discussion and see if there is interest in putting a question on the ballot that would give voters the opportunity to decide whether or not recreational marijuana shops could set up in town or not. Read

Medway town meeting affirms marijuana ban

3/19/18--Residents opted to ban recreational marijuana sales in town at Special Town Meeting Monday night. Voters approved by a two-thirds majority a measure that prohibits retail sales of recreational marijuana. The zoning still allows testing, product manufacture, and grow facilities by special permit in the town's industrial zones. Read

Pot shops face bans in most of Mass.

3/17/18--Marijuana companies will be banned from a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts when recreational sales begin this summer, the latest indication that there will be fewer pot stores in the early going than many consumers expected. At least 189 of the state’s 351 municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores and, in most cases, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operations, too. Read

New England lawmaker pushing for marijuana sanctuary state

3/8/18--Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that federal prosecutors should go for the jugular of marijuana businesses. Ever since then, there has been a push to create “sanctuary” status for legal marijuana states. Alaska and California want to see this reform. And now, one New England lawmaker is pushing for a marijuana sanctuary state. Read

Milford marijuana businesses look to what’s next after vote

3/10/18--With the future of their businesses in Milford secured, owners of local facilities that test and grow marijuana say they will now move toward incorporating recreational marijuana into their current medical-based operations. Read

City councilors went on a marijuana fact-finding mission in Denver

6/29/18--City councilors praised a two-day visit to Colorado this week, saying it helped provide "invaluable" information on how the council can properly regulate future recreational marijuana businesses here. Four Springfield councilors took part in the trip, meeting with Denver city officials and other stakeholders regarding the marijuana industry in that city. The excursion included multiple meetings and discussions and a visit to a marijuana facility there. Read

One in five Mass. adults consumed pot in past month

6/29/18--A new study released by health researchers provides a snapshot of cannabis use as the state of Massachusetts gears up for the start of recreational marijuana sales. The study, led by the state Department of Public Health, found that 21 percent of adult residents surveyed had used marijuana in the past 30 days. Young people, however, are using the drug at much higher rates: More than 50 percent of those aged 18 to 25 consumed cannabis within the past 30 days, compared with just 18 percent of those 26 and older, according to the research. Read

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

6/28/18--Recreational marijuana sales are now legal in Massachusetts, but 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

Massachusetts crafts ‘social equity’ program to help minorities and drug offenders enter marijuana industry

6/26/18--Massachusetts is making plans to launch the nation's first statewide "social equity" program to help minorities and people convicted of drug offenses work in the legal marijuana industry. Massachusetts state law requires the Cannabis Control Commission to promote full participation in the industry by people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. Read

Companies exploit marijuana “gifting” loophole to skirt regulations

2/1/18--Retail marijuana stores are months away from opening in Massachusetts, but some companies have been quietly operating for more than a year, selling and delivering marijuana via a legal loophole that exists in nearly every state that has legalized recreational marijuana use. Read

Is there moldy cannabis in Mass?

1/11/19--According to a complaint files by licensed physical therapist Anne Hassel, mold was an issue at both Franklin cultivation center and the Northampton dispensary. The former budtender reported that she “observed powered mildew flower” while trimming cannabis in 2016 in Franklin but was instructed by a supervisor to “cut around it.” She also says that management dunked “marijuana flower into a hydrogen peroxide solution to treat the mold. Read

Will Massachusetts become the first marijuana ‘sanctuary state’?

1/20/18--Two state representatives, Dave Rogers and Mike Connolly, want to turn Massachusetts into a sanctuary state for marijuana, filing legislation that would prohibit state and local police from participating in federal cases against people or licensed operators who follow state cannabis laws. Read

South Hadley town meeting approves marijuana sales ban; residents to make final decision during April election

1/10/18--By a 44 to 37 vote, Town Meeting on Wednesday said yes to a total ban on the sale of recreational marijuana in town. The action means voters during April's annual South Hadley municipal election will decide whether to confirm the prohibition. If the ballot question is approved in the spring, recreational marijuana cannot be sold in town. Read