Every state that passes legal marijuana, be it recreational or medical, goes through it’s own growing pains. From an increase in ER and veterinary visits due to children and pets finding and consuming hidden stashes, to people losing their jobs from eating too strong of edibles; Oregon is currently going through growing pains as it heads into the new year with new regulations and although Alaska legalized medical marijuana in the 90’s and recreational two years ago, it didn’t even start opening dispensaries until these last few months. Massachusetts is now experiencing it’s own sort of growing pains as officials push back the date for dispensaries to open.
On Wednesday December 28th, a Massachusetts bill was passed pushing the opening of dispensaries 6 months later to summer of 2018. It was an informal session with only a couple senate members, making for a quick decision with no objections. Feelings are mixed when it comes to this decision; on the one hand, supporters are disappointed and feel the urgency to open dispensaries as soon as possible, while cannabis regulators are feeling the pressure to create licensing and regulations for the entire state within just a year’s time.
It’s no surprise this bill was passed. Not because of Massachusetts’ house and senate, but because a year is not that long to prepare regulations and proper licensing, especially when considering the potential growing pains that are bound to pop up down the line. Deadlines will inevitably be pushed forward; Oregon proves as a great, current example with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission needing to have recreational licensing ready by October 1st which was eventually pushed forward to January 1st. It’s disappointing, but a necessary action to create a solid foundation for recreational cannabis in Massachusetts.