WORCESTER— The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) convened Friday, June 19 to commence discussions on some of the potential changes to the medical- and adult-use cannabis regulations in Massachusetts that it is considering in its 2020 regulatory review process. A full set of proposed regulatory amendments, currently being drafted and under review, will be presented to the Commission at a public meeting in July and subsequently opened for public review and comment.
For additional context regarding the draft policy discussions summarized below, video of Commissioners’ initial regulatory review will be available on the Commission’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Public meeting materials are also available at MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.
So far, the Commission discussed potential modifications, including:
- Clarifying existing criteria for the Social Justice Leadership Award;
- Updating the Energy and Environmental Leadership criteria to align with the agency’s recent Energy & Environment Compiled Guidance;
- Expanding the Local Employment Leader criteria to recognize efforts to contract with local and state businesses;
- Considering adding a “Diversity Employment Leader” category; and
- Making leadership ratings available to Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTC), and adding a new MTC Leader category.
Receivership and Control
- Establishing a process for the Commission to have notice and oversight over Marijuana Establishments (MEs) and MTCs placed under the control of a receiver by a Massachusetts court or otherwise designated.
Ownership and Control
- Updating the definition of Control and Ownership to specify the scope of a “significant” contract; and
- Delegating authority to the Executive Director to review and approve certain changes in information under 935 CMR 500.104.
Social Equity Program Participants and Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants
- Expanding Social Equity Program (SEP) eligibility to certain categories of individuals and Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants;
- Requiring majority ownership by SEP Participants in order to access license-related benefits, and potentially expanding these program benefits to microbusinesses and minority-owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses; and
- Confirming that certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants hold majority ownership (51% or more) over the license to maintain priority status.
- Clarifying that Marijuana Retailers may hold a Delivery License as a separate type of retail license;
- Allowing Delivery Licensees to hold interests in other license types, and vice versa;
- Considering giving the Commission flexibility to expand Delivery Licenses and Delivery Endorsements to other categories during the two-year exclusivity period; and
- Allowing Delivery Licensees to sell marijuana accessories and ME branded goods and non-edible items directly to consumers.
ME/MTC Agent Registration
- Considering updating the agent registration process so an agent’s first renewal occurs after 12 months, and subsequent registration renewals occur every three years;
- Increasing application and renewal fees for ME and laboratory agents to help cover the cost of badges; and
- Amending the MTC agent registration section of the medical use of marijuana regulations to make cross-referencing easier and bring more consistency to the process for ME and MTC agents.
- Considering establishing:
- the process for entities such as academic institutions, nonprofits, and MEs to receive a Research Facility License and Research Permit to engage in specific research projects;
- the information required for a Research Permit application;
- allowed licensing activities; and
- the Commission approval process and authority to audit research licensees.
- Recognizing there are still many unknowns about the potential for harm caused by additives used in vapes, amending the regulations to require:
- Notice at point of sale and disclosure on packaging that vapes have been tested for Vitamin E Acetate (VEA), but that the vape may nevertheless be harmful to a consumer’s health;
- Disclosure of all active ingredients, including terpenes, and make Certificates of Analysis and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available upon request to the Commission or a consumer;
- Product Manufacturers to maintain information on vape hardware, including the type of coil, type of battery, and, using best efforts, determine the source of the materials and maintain that information for Commission review upon request; and
- Labeling indicating whether terpenes are cannabis-derived or non-cannabis-derived.
- Allowing marijuana products that fail initial contaminant screens to be:
- Remediated and retested by at least the original Independent Testing Laboratory and a different Independent Testing Laboratory; or
- Licensees may attempt remediation of a batch twice prior to disposal or destruction.
- Adding new pesticides to those pesticides currently required of Independent Testing Laboratory protocols, including those that have been recently identified or are suspected of use in some form or fashion in either Commission or Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) investigations; and
- Requiring continued testing for VEA and a secondary screen for heavy metals from finished vapes.
Contactless Retail Operations
- Considering whether Marijuana Retailers may utilize contactless means of providing product to consumers to provide a safe alternative to person-to-person sales.
- Clarifying how the state mandated 500-foot buffer zone between an ME or MTC should be measured.
Financial Hardship Documentation
- To support consistency in MTC service to patients with Verified Financial Hardship without limiting the documentation that qualifies individuals for those benefits, specifying acceptable documentation for patients to receive reduced cost or free marijuana as required by the Medical Use of Marijuana Program.
Licensee Personnel Records
- Requiring licensees to include a code of ethics and whistleblower policy among their personnel records.
For more information about regulatory review process or draft changes discussed Friday, visit MassCannabisControl.Com, contact the Commission by phone (774-415-0200) or email (Commission@CCCMass.Com), or follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter.
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