The state's Cannabis Control Commission voted Thursday to award the first recreational marijuana business license.
Sira Naturals, which runs medical marijuana dispensaries in Cambridge, Needham and Somerville will be awarded the first license for cultivation. Sira Naturals applied for the license to grow for recreational use at a different facility that they own in Milford. They're expected to add up to 20,000 square feet more to grow.
The CCC's meeting Thursday was first vote on any sort of recreational license for marijuana in the state of Massachusetts since voters approved legalization in 2016.
Sira Naturals license is a cultivation license, which allows the company to grow recreational marijuana and sell it wholesale to other retailers. But being as this is the first recreational license of any kind, there are no other retailers to sell it to just yet.
Sira Naturals CEO Michael Dundas says after this first cultivation license is granted, we can likely expect other types of licenses, including recreational retail ones, to be granted in the next few months.
"I think we are going to see a small handful of these licenses handed out in July then a handful in the subsequent months that follow," said Dundas.
"The cultivation license is different from a product manufacturing license which is different again from a retail license. Presumably it seems logical to first issue cultivation licenses, and that's what we are up for," said Dundas.
Including Sira Naturals, 28 entities have applied for 53 business licenses from the CCC.
Shawn Collins, executive director of the Cannabis Control Commission told Boston 25 News:
"The Cannabis Control Commission’s first vote on a provisional license Thursday could mark another important step toward implementing a safe, equitable and effective adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts. In order to be successful, applicants will need to demonstrate they have met the standards laid out in law and regulation, achieved required local approvals, and are otherwise suitable for licensure."
So the big question everyone is asking, does that mean retail stores will be open by that July 1 target date?
At this point, it looks like that answer is no.
Dundas says despite the face that it passed on the ballot a year and a half ago, most in the industry didn't expect stores to be opening that early.
"We're looking to invent a brand new industry here in Massachusetts and it takes time to get it right. If you look back at the rollout of the medical marijuana program, that took nearly three years. At about a year and a half, I think we are right on schedule," said Dundas.
The CCC meets Thursday at 2 p.m. for the vote.
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