BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) -- This week, the Commission voted on preliminary draft regulations that would allow for two new business license types: home delivery services and social consumption spaces.
After a public comment period, the panel is expected to revisit the debate and take a final vote on the details of the licenses in September. That means businesses could get the go-ahead as early as 2020.
But even if the regulations pass, there will be some heavy restrictions in place.
At the moment, the proposed plan is to only allow local entrepreneurs who have already been approved for a microbusiness license to get their hands on delivery or social consumption business licenses.
Applicants from the Commission’s social equity programs would also get first dibs on those licenses for the first two years.
What Delivery Might Look Like:
As the draft regulations stand right now, an adult who wants pot products delivered to their home would first have to go in to a brick and mortar store to get their ID pre-verified.
Then, licensed delivery companies would essentially serve as a middleman, picking up the pre-ordered pre-packaged items from the retail stores, and delivering them to customers’ homes. They would not be allowed to sell wholesale products of their own.
The delivery vehicle would have to be equipped with lockboxes, and drivers would be on the hook for checking the ID of those buying the product at their own front door.
The company would not be permitted to deliver to dorms, hotels, or public housing complexes. And no delivery options would be allowed for towns that have banned cannabis stores.
A major piece of the regulations that’s still likely to be hashed out at a later date is whether or not drivers would have to wear a body camera to tape every transaction.
What Social Consumption Spaces Might Look Like:
Currently the Commission is considering a pilot program where towns would volunteer to allow cannabis cafes to open up shop, and monitor their progress. That would allow regulators to collect some hard data on the process and the outcome before allowing the businesses to open in communities across the state.
If the draft regulations stand, cannabis cafes would be allowed to serve edibles on site, and they could provide ventilated areas where customers could use vaporizers to inhale their bud. Smoking would be strictly limited to outdoors, and only with town approval.
Like most bars and nightclubs that serve alcohol, cannabis cafes would also be allowed to sell food and drink that does not include marijuana.
They would also have to produce detailed plans on how they would avoid over serving their guests, and how they would ensure impaired customers make it home safely.
Delivery and social consumption businesses are being hailed as a realistic way for locals to get involved in an industry that is already being overrun by big businesses or groups with major funding, which has effectively locked out many economic empowerment applicants.
And while Commission Chairman Steve Hoffman jokes that it’s up to the entrepreneur to decide the musical vibe of their cafe, he says the Commission is doing everything it can to make sure consumers have a space where they can enjoy a safe experience with marijuana.
Blunt Talk is a podcast about cannabis hosted by Brit Smith every Monday. You can listen to all previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.