New Massachusetts Law Creates Cannabis Control Commission
The law creates a Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industries. The commission also will set potency limits for edible marijuana products and adopt packaging requirements that conform to a detailed list of health and safety protections.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on July 28 signed into law H. 3818, An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana, which was passed by state legislators to update state laws governing the cultivation, sale, and adult use of marijuana after voters in the state approved that in 2016. The law creates a five-member Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industries -- a commission consisting of one appointee each from the governor, treasurer, and attorney general and two other members to be agreed on by a majority of those three office holders.
It directs the commission to temporarily adopt the independent testing regulations currently adopted by the state Department of Public Health until the commission has promulgated regulations, guidelines, and protocols for independent testing of marijuana, on or before May 1, 2018. And the commission is to set the regulations for issuing licenses pursuant no later than March 15, 2018, and begin to accept applications for licenses no later than April 1, 2018.
"We appreciate the careful consideration the legislature took to balance input from lawmakers, educators, public safety officials, and public health professionals, while honoring the will of the voters regarding the adult use of marijuana," Baker said. "We look forward to appointing members of the Cannabis Control Commission and the Cannabis Advisory Board to join us in working with Treasurer Goldberg, Attorney General Healey, local officials, law enforcement, and all other stakeholders involved to implement the enhanced law safely and responsibly throughout the Commonwealth."
The law outlines the ability of cities and towns to exercise local control to ban or limit the development of marijuana establishments to address municipal concerns, and it sets a special excise tax on adult use marijuana sales at 10.75 percent to support the costs of regulating the industry and to fund initiatives in public health, public safety, police training, restorative justice, and workforce development, according to the governor's news release, which said there is a local option for cities and towns to add a 3 percent tax on top of the combined 17 percent between sales and the marijuana-specific excise tax. Medical marijuana will remain untaxed.
The Cannabis Advisory Board is to have 25 members -- five each from the governor, treasurer, and attorney general and 10 others serving as ex officio appointees and chosen for their expertise and knowledge relevant to the board's mission. The Cannabis Control Commission is to set potency limits for edible marijuana products and adopt packaging requirements that conform to a detailed list of health and safety protections.