The western part of the U.S., namely Washington, Oregon and Colorado have led the way in cannabis legislation. Each state has taken varying policy approaches. Massachusetts is now taking on recreational sales. The Commonwealth legalized cannabis in 2016 but has opted to take a slightly different approach to the rules. July 1st of this year will see a wave of new marijuana regulations.

East of the Mississippi, Here We Come

Legal marijuana in Massachusetts will soon be the most eastern recreational market in the U.S. A few other states are also considering entry into the industry include Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.

But what is so different about MA’s approach? Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission wants to create a new set of legal standards – that other states may be tempted to implement themselves. Currently, within the state, a dispensary is only permitted to sell product that they themselves have actually grown. This requirement means businesses must possess a large amount of capital to build cultivation and production facilities. But for some, this situation becomes sort of a catch-22 – meaning that a trip down to the bank to secure a massive loan may not be feasible since the banking and cannabis industries are not exactly completely fluid with one another. So, Massachusetts has taken the step to remove this grow/sell requirement.

Even though the state is going in a different direction with some of its marijuana regulations, it is still sticking with a number of standard rules, such as child-resistant packaging and specific licenses dependent on cultivator, producer or retailer.

Big Marijuana Regulations Benefits Even for the Little Grower

All the states that have legalized cannabis offer numerous licenses. Massachusetts has taken these licenses to the next level through a bit of customization. Sub-licenses from small to huge now exist for cultivation. This means that smaller facilities should be able to more easily open up even though they might have less capital backing them. To add to this, the state is implementing lower registration fees than any other market in the country.

Lower fees per individual cultivator also means the ability to join forces. The Commission will permit smaller license holders to partner up with others making them more competitive with the big boys in the industry. Larger-scale license holders naturally possess the ability to control prices in the market. But groups of smaller growers can better influence these prices or at least help drive them to where they want them to go.

Don’t Forget Patients

Another one of the marijuana regulations will require that retail stores reserve a certain amount of product strictly for medical marijuana patients. Separate product and separate purchase lines will be available (and required in store) for cardholders.

Cannabis Cultivation Carbon Footprint

Cannabis requires an intensive growing process, and can be grown inside and outside. But when grown indoors, it releases a large amount of carbon dioxide – over 4,500 kilograms for every kilogram of marijuana. Massachusetts hopes to be a pioneer in environmental regulations too – the Cannabis Control Commission will assess emission levels throughout the state on their path to become the least polluting market.

Other environmental concerns for the state concern space and light. Cultivators must use more energy efficient lighting for their grows. The Commission wants growers to use LEDs. But this raises the question of whether these lights are strong enough.

Buy and Use On-Site?

Across the country, users cannot consume cannabis products on-site of a retail store or dispensary. Massachusetts did indeed consider social consumption as part of its new take on cannabis regulations. Discussion of cannabis coffee shops and cannabis bars even came up. But ultimately, the powers that be opted against the decision. The law would also have allowed individuals such as yoga instructors or massage therapists to offer CBD oil to patients on site.

Commonwealth Cannabis

Recreational sales take root soon in Massachusetts. Will the Commonwealth’s approach to marijuana regulations spur on change in other markets? Or did the other states regulate effectively? Either way, the Massachusetts market is fresh and ready for investment. Take the next step with Pinnacle Consultation. Our expertise in markets across the country will provide you with the knowledge you need to get ahead of the competition. Speak with a consultant today.