Commonwealth Dispensary Association drops lawsuit regarding Massachusetts’ cannabis delivery rules

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis retailers who recentl filed a lawsuit regarding Massachusetts’ new cannabis delivery policies have decided to drop the case.

The plaintiffs, the Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA), fought against the Cannabis Control Commission’s rules, which only permit social equity applicants to deliver cannabis for the first three years of the program’s inception.

The CDA argued that, due to a rule stipulating cannabis can be delivered under an applicants’ existing retail license, a statute is being violated; according to a report from the Boston Business Journal.

However, a prompt backlash from many of the group’s members pressured the CDA – responsible for providing representation to dozens of retailers – to drop the suit.

The news comes just a few months since the Commission confirmed that, for the program’s first three years, it would be reserving delivery licenses for economic empowerment applicants and social equity participants.

What do Massachusetts’ new cannabis delivery policies entail?

The commission has long-been discussing regulations pertaining to Massachusetts’ cannabis delivery policies. Based on the December 1 approval, two types of licenses are up for grabs:

    1. “Cannabis courier” – This permit will enable businesses to charge a fee for making deliveries from licensed dispensaries and retailers.
    2. “Cannabis delivery operator” – This permit will enable businesses to purchase wholesale cannabis from growers and manufacturers, which can then be sold on directly to customers.

Both of the aforementioned licenses were initially offered to social equity and economic empowerment applicants. The delivery operator permit application process takes approximately five weeks. Commission staff also noted that courier license hopefuls have already started submitting their applications.

Cannabis companies threatened to leave the CDA in protest against 

Numerous members of the CDA have been outraged by the association’s attempts to overthrow Massachusetts’ new cannabis delivery policies. Just days after the announcement, 10 cannabis companies announced their plans to exit the club as a sign of protest. One of those companies is the largest cannabis operator in Massachusetts New England Treatment Access (NETA)

According to a report from The Boston Globe, the 10 companies that chose to dart ways from the CDA consider the association’s legal move as an unjust attack on social equity efforts. Some of the vocal opponents even went as far as to say that the CDA is acting in racist manner.

Clearly feeling the pressure, the CDA quickly responded by confirming the lawsuit’s demise. Factually, a statement released by the CDA following the member disputes said it was in the “best interest of the industry and our members to drop the lawsuit.”

“We all need to be working together on achieving our many shared objectives, including increasing the participation of a diverse set of entrepreneurs in the industry,” reads an excerpt from the CDA’s statement.

Now that the lawsuit is withdrawn, it remains uncertain as to whether or not the NETA among the many other companies that recently left the CDA will decide to rejoin or not. In regards to the likelihood of other businesses contesting Massachusetts’ new cannabis delivery policies, the jury is still out.