BOSTON, Mass. – Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is expected to come up with a decision later this month in connection with the draft regulation involving the current proposal that would allow social marijuana consumption in cannabis cafes legal. In light of this, if the proposal passes, Massachusetts will be the first state in the United States of America to legalize cannabis social consumption.
In the status quo, social marijuana consumption is considered legal. However, the said state has strict and rigid laws regarding where adults can consume marijuana. Therefore, while smoking pot is legal per se, cannabis consumption in public is still considered illegal.
Hence, the above-mentioned proposal, which legalizes social consumption in cannabis cafes. Social consumption sites or the cannabis cafes would have to obtain a license from the Commission and adhere to the guidelines stipulated in the proposal.
The cannabis cafes will be considered the only place where adults can gather to buy and legally consume marijuana besides their private residences. In addition to this, the proposal stipulates that cafes should be delimited to adults only; hence, minors are strictly not allowed to have access to marijuana or near the cafe’s vicinity.
Moreover, the cafes are prohibited from serving alcohol, as per the proposal. Extra measures are required, which will have even higher standard than bars that serve alcohol. Also, the business has the responsibility of securing a plan to get the intoxicated patrons home, ensuring not just their safety, but also of others.
Cannabis Control Commission proposes two kinds of licenses to be obtained in order to legalize social consumption. First, being the one described above, and another one being a mixed-license, wherein a business can sell marijuana as a side line.
Steven J. Hoffman, Chairman of Cannabis Control Commission, said that the aim is to honor the will of the voters of Massachusetts by safely, impartially, and effectively executing and administering the laws enabling access to adult use of marijuana in the Commonwealth. He added that the step taken to legalize the social consumption of marijuana was a remarkable one.
On the other hand, Republican Governor Charlie Baker strongly opposes the proposition, arguing that state marijuana regulators have their plate full on recreational pot law, and urges the Commission to postpone adding the new regulation until later this year.
Baker pointed on a report last week that people should crawl first before they could walk, and walk before they could run.
Local law enforcement is likewise against the idea of social marijuana consumption. According to both Baker and other law enforcers, legalizing social marijuana consumption is a risk to public health and safety. According to them and the Massachusetts Association of District Attorneys, these facilities would lead to higher possibility of stoned drivers causing road accidents endangering public safety.
However, despite numerous oppositions, the Cannabis Control Commission will already conduct public hearings on the draft regulations this February, which will legalize social marijuana consumption. Said Commission expects to take into effect the final regulations by March 15, 2018, which will allow license applications to come beginning April.