Advisory board votes on equity, fees, vertical integration
The Industry Subcommittee of the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board unveiled a five page report that recommends eliminating vertical integration, reducing medical license fees, and expanding the social equity program and economic empowerment benefits to the medical marijuana program. The Cannabis Control Commission has focused much of its attention on making the adult-use industry accessible. Meanwhile, the barriers that make medical marijuana licenses out of reach for most entrepreneurs remain in place.
For example, the Cannabis Control Commission continues to require vertical integration for medical marijuana businesses. This means that dispensaries must also cultivate their own products. In their recommendation the Industry Subcommittee recommended eliminating the requirement that MTC licenses be vertically integrated. In it’s place the subcommittee is asking the Commission to establish a licensing framework for medical cannabis licenses that would parallel the framework for adult-use licenses, including separate authority for medical licensees to operate as cultivators, product manufacturers, and/or retailers.
The Subcommittee also recommends that the Commission study the impact that reducing licensing fees would have. As is stands today the adult-use licenses are more affordable. The subcommittee recommends that the Commission investigate the impact that aligning medical and adult-use license fees may have, and if such a policy is found to be appropriate, align the fees for medical marijuana and adult use license types so as to be governed by a single fee schedule that maintains revenue neutrality in the medical marijuana program.
As it relates to equity in the cannabis industry the subcommittee highlighted the lack of policies that encourage full participation in medical marijuana licensing. As a solution the subcommittee recommends that the commission extend all social equity participant benefits and programs, including those limited to Economic Empowerment Applicants, to the medical marijuana program.
The Cannabis Industry Subcommittee will present these recommendations to the full Cannabis Advisory Board at an upcoming meeting. The full Advisory Board can vote to pass the recommendations onto the Cannabis Control Commission.