Editorial, Opinion

EDITORIAL: A promising future for the recreational marijuana business

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, responsible for overseeing marijuana legalization matters in the government, started accepting applications for priority certification from marijuana dispensaries seeking to acquire licenses in order to sell the drug for recreational purposes. After significant deliberation, the commission launched the website to review them on Monday.

Ever since recreational marijuana possession was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016, many stakeholders in the industry have been interested in selling weed in stores for customers to buy, just as they would purchase cigarettes or alcoholic beverages. The commission received nearly 200 applications, according to The Boston Globe, a high number that indicates the success of the program.

It’s important to note that talks about establishing recreational marijuana businesses have been ongoing since 2016. And while it’s been two years since starting that conversation, it is commendable how well the system for receiving applications is working. The commission took its time to create an effective system and functioning website to review applicants, which is far more worthwhile than putting something out there sooner that’s not smoother or more efficient. It is evident commission officials were diligent and thoughtful in crafting the system — and these efforts have clearly paid off.

Applications from medical marijuana companies and businesses looking to operate in places where there have been frequent drug-related arrests were prioritized; businesses who wish to serve these communities are especially important. But with marijuana now legal and the upcoming opportunity to sell it, the introduction of these business will hopefully bolster these neighborhoods’ economies and improve employment for locals living there. This move could also help bridge racial inequities that resulted from those arrested and strengthen families affected by the enforcement of the previous marijuana laws.

These stores are also exciting from a general economic perspective. For a long time, recreational marijuana has been viewed as a thing only enjoyed by people who consume it, but vendors can now reap the economic benefits of selling them on a legal market. Ultimately, the sale of marijuana can be practical for the state economy and prove to be beneficial for both sides. These stores give us the chance to diversify the economy and turn it into something lucrative.

The commission is planning to relocate its headquarters to Worcester, which is centrally located in Massachusetts. This can provide more people the chance to apply for a license and make the opportunity available to those who want it.

The CCC also hopes to establish a satellite office in Boston near a MBTA stop, which ensures accessibility and bureaucratic efficiency. Not only would the office be convenient for vendors, but also for organizations that work for them. Having a permit office nearby can be useful for the commission officials as well, so that they can keep a watchful eye out in the metropolitan area.

So far, the state has taken positive steps in safely introducing recreational marijuana to the public and making it available to consumers. From getting marijuana legalized to bringing plans to fruition, Massachusetts is again serving as an exemplar liberal, progressive state, and we can only hope that it leads the rest of the country in the right direction on this issue.

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