Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission amended the cease-and-desist order yesterday to permit the limited operation of adult-use marijuana businesses that are essential to the medical-marijuana supply chain. The amended order was released after Governor Baker, a Republican, extended the stay-at-home emergency order through May 4, 2020. A surge in new medical marijuana registrations in the state shows that consumers are finding a way around the state’s adult-use store closures.
The CCC noted that it received 1,308 new patient applications, which is a 158% increase since the state shut down adult-use marijuana businesses on March 23, 2020. State regulators expect these numbers to increase in the near future as patients can easily use telehealth medicine to qualify.
The amended order permits adult-use marijuana businesses to operate that are either co-located with a medical dispensary or are essential to the medical supply chain. State records show that the inventory of a medical dispensary is heavily supported by adult-use products including 66% of the finished flower product, 40% of the concentrate products and 63% of the marijuana-infused products.
A business, and its employees, qualify for the essential status if they cultivate and manufacture marijuana and marijuana products that supply medical dispensaries. The CCC is expanding the network of essential marijuana services due to the expected increase in new patient registrations and the ability for patients to use telehealth medicine to qualify.
The amended cease-and-desist order still requires adult-use retail stores to remain closed until the expiration of the stay-at-home emergency order. The increase in new medical applications clearly represents consumers that previously purchased products from adult-use stores.
Owners of adult-use retail establishments protested Governor Baker’s decision to punish the industry by failing to designate it as an essential service. This decision places an unnecessary financial strain on the adult-use market and could devastate small mom and pop shops that are not eligible for federal assistance.
Although the new ruling does little to help adult-use retail, it will help a number of cultivation and manufacturing facilities generate revenues during this period. Massachusetts residents should show the Governor how his ruling is a farce by mass registering for medical marijuana cards. Medical marijuana stores could share this windfall with their adult-use brethren to make sure that the industry remains strong and united. So people, dial for the industry and register as a medical marijuana patient.