At a December 8th meeting of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission the Executive Director raised the need for the agency to consider upcoming policy expirations. Throughout the pandemic the Commission has adjusted its rules to protect public health and safety. For example, since March 2020 the Commission has allowed healthcare providers to waive the requirement for new patients to be certified in person. This expanded access to clinical consultations through telehealth by enabling individuals that have never before entered the medical marijuana program to do so in the comfort of their home without risking exposure to COVID.
Three policies were identified as set to expire on December 31st. Besides the telehealth rules the Commission is also considering what do with medical curbside pickup and virtual community outreach meetings. Chair O’Brien shared her belief that letting these rules lapse would not be the best course of action. O’Brien suggested that Commissioners find a time to meet before the end of the year to extend these policies into January. Commissioner Stebbins voiced his support of the Chair’s suggestion and encouraged individuals to share their feedback on these topics. Commissioner Roy suggested extending these policies beyond January to give staff time gather and analyze data, such as a patient survey, that could help the Commission better understand how these policies impact patients. Executive Director Collins told Commissioners that he felt comfortable in the agency’s ability to reconvene to extend these policies before 2022 draws to a close.