Massachusetts residents feeling a late-night marijuana craving might soon be able to order a shipment and have a courier deliver it to their doorstep — but not for those who live on a college campus.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission voted to allow certain distributors to deliver both medical and recreational marijuana, but delivery services will be heavily regulated to ensure safety and legality, according to a CCC press release.
However, deliveries will not begin immediately, as it will take the CCC two months to create applications for dispensaries to obtain delivery permits and host communities still need to approve marijuana delivery individually.
Participation in this program will be limited to cities that already allow retail sales of cannabis or have notified the Commission of their willingness to allow its delivery, the press release stated. Any order must be made by an adult, at least 21 years of age, who verifies their identity in-store or online before the purchase.
Deliveries will not be sent to college dormitories or any other residence that benefits from federal funds, nor will dispensaries be allowed to deliver to hotels or bed and breakfasts.
For a two-year pilot period, delivery licenses will be granted exclusively to certain groups including marijuana microbusinesses and organizations that applied to be dispensaries through the CCC’s Social Equity Economic Empowerment programs, according to the press release.
Maryalice Gill, press secretary of CCC, wrote in an email the delivery program will allow the CCC to better serve communities that were previously disadvantaged by the previous ban on marijuana.
“State law mandates that the regulated adult-use cannabis industry includes full participation by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by previous marijuana prohibition as well as farmers and businesses of all sizes,” Gill wrote. “The delivery license, which is considered a lower capital intensive license type, will help the Commission meet those mandates.”
Peter Bernard, president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, said his organization has advocated for such a delivery policy for the past two years, as deliveries will bring more business to dispensaries and greater marujuana access to consumers.
“I think it’s good for not just cultivators and manufacturers, but everybody else in the industry,” Bernard said. “It makes things more available. And from a marketing perspective, that’s not a bad thing. Things are more available, you’re probably going to have better sales.”
Bernard said delivery also allows dispensaries to overcome the limitations traditionally associated with going to a physical store.
“You don’t have to have a brick and mortar store that town is going to be upset about lines going around the corner and traffic and all that kind of stuff, if you don’t have a store to go into,” Bernard said.
During the months of discussion and revision before regulations were completed, Bernard said he advocated for allowing microbusinesses to apply for delivery permits.
“We actually put the microbusiness in there as something we were willing to negotiate away in order to keep other stuff,” Bernard said. “We were pretty thrilled to see that license make the final cut. So anytime somebody goes for that license, it just gives me a great big smile.”
Gill wrote that after a two-year trial period, the commission plans to evaluate the program’s effects and then determine whether to expand deliveries to the rest of the marijuana industry or extend exclusivity for an additional year.
Freddy Lane, 24, of Hyde Park, said the convenience of delivery seems an unjust development for those who remain incarcerated for distributing what is now so accessible.
“I feel like [having weed delivered] would be really cool,” Lane said. “It’d be sick, but not for everybody who’s locked up basically for like selling weed.”
Thomas DeMartino, 62, of Dorchester said he appreciates the relaxation of regulations around marijuana use.
“If you go back 45, 50 years ago, you could be jailed for a number of years just for carrying a joint. What a waste of taxpayers’ money. What a waste of room in jail for violent offenders,” he said. “Now, if you have a car, you’re allowed to ride around, you’re allowed to have this stuff delivered to your home, you’re allowed to grow it if you have the proper permits and the authorization. I mean, I think it’s beautiful.”
Vik Detwiler, 31, or Jamaica Plain, said he supports marijuana delivery and that more research should be done on marijuana in Massachusetts.
“I’m cool with delivering cannabis,” Detwiler said. “I mean, I guess I’m really happy that it’s legal here in Boston now and Massachusetts. I mean, I think that I do want to see more research on marijuana use, I think it’s unfortunate that there’s not very much research that’s been done. I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve heard it’s like, there’s just not a lot of research on it, which I think is unfortunate.”