Adult-use cannabis home delivery services approved by Massachusetts lawmakers

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis consumers in Massachusetts will soon be able to get dispensary-quality buds delivered directly to their door. On Monday, November 30, state regulators from the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) approved new regulations for “marijuana couriers”. 

Based on the updated rules, cannabis dispensary drivers “will be allowed to charge a fee to make deliveries from a retailer or dispensary to the customer.” A separate rule that was given the green light from the CCC will also enable cannabis delivery operators “to buy wholesale products and make deliveries from their own warehouse.”

According to a report by television news station WCVB, “a virtual meeting to approve revised rules for the industry” took place, during which members of the commission passed regulations for adult-use cannabis home delivery in Massachusetts by a vote of 3-1.

A home cannabis delivery agreement in Massachusetts is defined as “a contract between a licensed Marijuana Establishment and a Delivery License holder or Marijuana Establishment with a Delivery Endorsement to deliver Marijuana or Marijuana Products from the Marijuana Establishment directly to Consumers and as permitted, Marijuana Couriers to Patients and Caregivers, under the provisions of a Delivery License.”

Adult-use cannabis home delivery in Massachusetts to be challenged in court

Home cannabis delivery in Massachusetts has long been sought after by business owners across the state, where the adult-use market was launched two years ago when the first stores on the East Coast began ushering in customers. However, obstacles have since cropped up from various avenues. 

For example, Boston-based attorney Howard Cooper sent a letter to state regulators in November stating that, if the commission adopted the rules, it “would be in direct contravention of its own governing and enabling statute which clearly and unambiguously states that only Marijuana Retailers, as defined in the statute, are permitted to deliver cannabis products to consumers.”

Cooper’s letter went on to say that the clients of his attorney’s office would “have no choice but to challenge the Commission’s Proposed Regulations in court if adopted.” Rather than ignite a legal dispute, Cooper said that his letter was drafted in order to avoid one.

“This will not be the final word on delivery,” the Commonwealth Dispensary Association said in a statement on November 30; further suggesting that the newly adopted rules for adult-use cannabis home delivery in Massachusetts will likely be challenged in court. On the other hand, many pro-cannabis lobbyists believe that the opposition is a lousy effort to diminish industry competitiveness.

One such example is Aaron Goines – an activist in charge of advising the Massachusetts Cannabis Association for Delivery. He says that certain retailers want to hinder competition. In order to do this, he says that they are trying to own between 80 and 100 percent of home delivery services as a means of gaining “as much control or influence over it as possible.” 

“That’s just not how the regulations are written, so get on board. Compete. You are not entitled to a clear runway of no competition in this country, it just doesn’t work like that,” Goines added.

The legal cannabis market in Massachusetts has reached a turning point

Back in 2016, voters in Massachusetts approved an adult-use cannabis measure. Based on the law, residents aged 21 and older can legally consume, purchase and possess with certain limitations cannabis for recreational purposes. Although dispensaries didn’t open until 2018 two years after residents voted to legalize the plant for recreational purposes the market is thriving. 

In fact, state data reported in the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system Metrc shows that retailers surpassed $1 billion in gross sales at the end of the business day on October 30, 2020. These impressive figures, combined with the fact that consumers can now order cannabis delivery, suggest that revenue is likely to continue climbing.

Prior to the enactment of the new rules for adult-use cannabis home delivery in Massachusetts, only third-party operators were legally able to transport legal weed purchases from licensed dispensaries; mirroring the model that is currently adopted for food delivery services.