MARIJUANA

From legislation to legalization follow the local impacts of the cannabis industry.

John Samek of Hardwick Winery delivers wine to Piyush Patel of Northampton Liquors and Wine. Samek has had to close his weekend venue where he serves wine, but can still sell by the bottle. Patel has fewer customers, but they're buying more.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Massachusetts, Connecticut and other states have designated the retail sale of alcoholic beverages as "essential business” during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning packages stores are allowed to stay open. 

Days before Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close, some already had.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered non-essential businesses in the state to shut their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic. But what is considered “essential” by the state could change.

A line forms outside New England Treatment Access in Northampton, Massachusetts, on the first day of sales, November 20, 2018.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

One big complaint about Massachusetts' legal marijuana industry: Who is getting all those profits? Efforts to change have been slow moving.

With closely choreographed public-hearing testimony by agency heads and other officials, the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont delivered a broad overview Monday of the complexities involved in trying to legalize and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana in Connecticut.

Recreational Marijuana Sales Help Pittsfield Save For Rainy Day

Jan 10, 2020
Marijuana at Temescal Wellness in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Aviva Luttrell / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

Recreational marijuana sales have been a boon to Pittsfield's ability to stash money away in case of an emergency or downturn, a strategy that a Massachusetts official said Thursday could be useful in other communities.

After the end of a months-long ban on sales, Massachusetts cannabis businesses have started selling new vaping products.

Marijuana Vape Sales Can Resume, Say Mass. Regulators

Dec 12, 2019
Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission member Jen Flanagan, at right, addresses marijuana vape products during a meeting. At left is commission member Shaleen Title.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts marijuana regulators eased their ban on vaping product sales Thursday, allowing certain types of products to return to store shelves one day after state public health officials backed off a ban on nicotine vape sales.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

A ban on all vaping products in Massachusetts is expected to end Wednesday — but that doesn't mean vape shops in the state are celebrating. 

Massachusetts Is On Target For Sizeable Share Of Pot Revenue, Says State Commissioner

Dec 4, 2019
At center, Massachusetts Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts tax collectors are expecting to haul in between $93 million and $173 million in legal marijuana revenue this current budget year, and could collect as much as $189 million in the next budget year.

Marijuana that is for sale at INSA in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

One year ago this week, the first adult-use marijuana stores opened in Massachusetts. One of the state’s goals was to move cannabis off the black market. But illegal sales haven’t stopped — and licensed stores  are having a tough time getting enough marijuana to meet demand.

Nearly one year since the first legal, adult-use cannabis sale was made, there are now 33 retail stores open around Massachusetts.

So far, state regulators have issued 227 provisional and final licenses to retail, cultivation, cannabis manufacturing facilities and independent testing laboratories. Before — and even after — licenses are issued, those facilities must be inspected by the state.

‘Keeps Everyone On Their Toes’

Quarantine Ordered For Most Marijuana Vaping Products In Massachusetts

Nov 12, 2019
A vape pen in action.
Lindsay Fox / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/87735223@N02

Massachusetts cannabis regulators ordered a quarantine Tuesday for all marijuana vaping products, except those that vaporize flower for medical patients.

Medical Marijuana Patients In Massachusetts Set To Regain Vape Product Access

Nov 7, 2019
Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission member Jen Flanagan, at right, addresses marijuana vape products during a meeting. At left is commission member Shaleen Title.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Medical marijuana users in Massachusetts are on track to regain access to vaping products next week.

Steven Hoffman, at left, chairman of the CCC, and DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel, at right.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that the emergency state regulations banning the sale of all vaping products "are very likely invalid" as they relate to medical marijuana patients.

New England Treatment Access in Northampton, Massachusetts.
ALDEN BOURNE / NEPR

A federal grand jury is looking into the mandatory agreements and payments between host communities and marijuana businesses in Massachusetts, according to a report in The Boston Globe

Marijuana.
futurefilmworks / Creative Commons

Marijuana retailers in Massachusetts say the state's ban on vaping products is taking a bite out of their business. The vaping ban is also having an impact on the supply of legal weed.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill Tuesday that would permit organic pest and mold control for growing marijuana.

Voters attending the Fall Town Meeting in Uxbridge Tuesday night will be asked if they want to remove a cap on the number of cannabis businesses allowed in the town. The Cannabis Control Commission has already granted five licenses in the town of roughly 14,000 people. Four other Uxbridge businesses have applications in the queue waiting for the commission to act, and the town has heard from more businesses wanting to set up shop.

Caroline’s Cannabis opened in March. It’s tucked in the back of a metal building that houses a carpet store and hair salon out front.

From left seated in the same row in Hampden Superior Court: Springfield police officers Igor Basovskiy, Anthony Cicero, Daniel Billingsley, Christian Cicero and Jameson Williams.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

As we look back at news of the week, new Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood in Springfield, Massachusetts, left the door open to indicted officers returning to the job, if they are acquitted. 

Empty e-cigarette racks at Bird's Store in Florence, Massachusetts, the day after a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products went into effect in the state.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Some retailers in Massachusetts are having to adjust with a ban in place on the sale of vaping products.

Lisa Black manages the retail space at INSA in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Springfield, Massachusetts, City Council on Monday night approved host community agreements for what would be the first non-medical marijuana shops in the city.

When Congress legalized hemp farming at the end of last year, CNN’s Harmeet Kaur wrote: “... if you try to smoke hemp, you'll probably just end up with a headache.”

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Tuesday that he is partnering with a Woonsocket maker of CBD products that the retired football star credits with relieving his chronic pain from a bruising career.

Gronkowski, who walked away from the NFL in March at age 29, said at a news conference in New York that he will advocate for professional sports leagues to allow active players to use CBD products, which are generally banned.

Marijuana plants.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The magazine High Times has been going strong since 1974, when it would have been hard to imagine the current swing toward marijuana legalization.

Now there's an enormous amount of cannabis information online, and even specific apps to locate pot shops. But there’s also a new crop of old-fashioned print publications, including some based in New England.

Crackdown On CBD Products Frustrates Mass. Businesses

Aug 6, 2019

Many Massachusetts retailers and farmers say a recent state policy statement on CBD is bad for business.

The policy, issued in June, bans the sale of some hemp products, including foods made with hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). And this has left many businesses that hoped to tap into the lucrative CBD industry in limbo.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is among the western Mass. cities with a recreational marijuana store.
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Creative Commons

Massachusetts cities and towns with marijuana businesses are getting revenue from a three percent tax on retail pot sales.

New England Treatment Access is a medical and recreational marijuana store in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Sarah Crosby / Daily Hampshire Gazette

The state of Massachusetts has announced how much tax money communities with retail pot shops received for February, March, and April. 

Physician assistants soon will be able to prescribe medical marijuana in New Hampshire.

Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill expanding the list of providers who may prescribe the drug. Another bill that would allow medical marijuana users to grow their own plants awaits his signature.

The state won't be legalizing recreational use of marijuana any time soon; The House passed a bill legalizing recreational use in April, but the Senate later voted to delay action on it.

Massachusetts regulators have banned the sale of some hemp products, including foods infused with cannabidiol (CBD) and dietary supplements.

The restrictions were outlined in a recent policy statement from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). It also prohibits CBD products that make therapeutic/medicinal claims, animal feed with hemp, and the sale of unprocessed or raw plant material to consumers.

Among the big-ticket items that did not pass in Connecticut's 2019 legislative session were tolls and legal cannabis. While tolls will likely be debated in a special session this summer, proponents of recreational marijuana will have to regroup and wait until next year.

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