BOSTON - By a narrow margin, the Cannabis Advisory Board made two big recommendations Wednesday to allow the establishment of social cannabis facilities and to issue licenses for marijuana delivery services.
A panel studying the issues made several recommendations on regulations Wednesday which must still be approved by the full Cannabis Control Commission.
"I'm excited to see social consumption finally come to reality here in Massachusetts... I'm also excited to see adult use delivery start," said Michael Latulippe, Cannabis Advisory Board.
When Massachusetts residents voted overwhelmingly in 2016 to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana, supporters wanted to make sure individuals who live in shared housing, apartment buildings or public housing could still use pot.
That led to the push for pot cafes - or "social use establishments" - where patrons could gather and legally use marijuana with friends.
However, not everyone on the board was excited.
Walpole's Police Chief John Carmichael made the argument that we already have an impaired driving problem, "We know that we already have a problem that's what we kind of established during the meeting... that it currently exists. We don't want to make that problem worse before we have a real solid way to deal with it."
Carmichael is even more concerned about the idea of delivery trucks moving around the state with cannabis as the cargo.
"We're making these deliveries anywhere in Massachusetts and you don't know who that person is on the other end. And frankly, violent crime is going to take place," said Carmichael.
Board member Michael Latulippe is a good option for those with mobility issues and does acknowledge the advent of social cannabis cafes could create an OUI issue.
"I suggested limiting the amount of servings that were allowed at any one time... that didn't pass... but I've made these suggestions to try and alleviate the concerns around OUI," said Latulippe.
The subcommittee does not have final say on the issues; that's up to the Cannabis Control Commission.
After today's votes, Carmichael recommends slowing down, "There's so much to this and we keep finding that out at every meeting. So I think taking it slow and having the rollout slow down, even more, is probably the best approach."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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