Consumers in Michigan have even more options to purchase cannabis with the launch of a new license type for marijuana business operators announced recently by state regulators. And responding to calls for the Massachusetts cannabis industry to be more inclusive, the new delivery licenses will only be available to applicants participating in the state’s social equity and economic empowerment programs for at least three years.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission announced on May 28 that economic empowerment applicants and social equity program participants were eligible to apply for pre-certification and licensure as marijuana delivery operators. The new licenses were authorized last year after a public hearing and public comment period revealed strong support for cannabis industry opportunities reserved for members of underserved communities and those impacted by the War on Drugs.
“The availability of the Marijuana Delivery Operator license is a major development to the agency’s ongoing commitment to ensure meaningful participation in the legal industry by individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by previous marijuana prohibition, as well as efforts to combat unregulated cannabis delivery happening throughout the Commonwealth,” the CCC wrote in a statement from the regulatory agency.
Businesses licensed as marijuana delivery operators are permitted to purchase cannabis products from cultivators and manufacturers for delivery to customers’ homes. Those companies operating under the license type are required to comply with customer verification processes and safety regulations detailed by the CCC.
“I applaud the Commissioners, staff, and members of the public who envisioned this license type and worked hard to streamline the application and make it as accessible as possible,” CCC executive director Shawn Collins said. “Our delivery policies and procedures will only bolster Massachusetts’ reputation as a role model for states looking to incorporate equity into cannabis legalization and ensure public safety.”
Massachusetts is Working Toward a More Inclusive Cannabis Industry
Aaron Goines, president of the Massachusetts Cannabis Association for Delivery, told local media that the new marijuana delivery operator license levels the playing field for participation in the state’s regulated marijuana industry.
“The release of this application serves as an important step in acknowledging the excessive hurdles that many people of color and those disenfranchised face when it comes to starting a cannabis business,” said Goines. “This license type is a major piece of the equation in making the Massachusetts cannabis industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive.”
In May 2020 the CCC announced the creation of licenses for marijuana couriers (formerly known as delivery only) that allowed operators to deliver orders from adult-use cannabis dispensaries and medical marijuana treatment centers. The new marijuana delivery operator license allows licensees to obtain and store products for delivery once an order from a customer has been received.
The CCC noted in its announcement that 122 certified economic empowerment applicants and almost 400 social equity participants are eligible for the delivery licenses. Delivery licenses will only be awarded to such applicants for at least three years. The agency also noted that it had approved one final and seven provisional licenses as marijuana couriers.
The first license was awarded to Freshly Baked, a social equity applicant and microbusiness with a delivery endorsement. The company is owned by Jenny Roseman and Philip Smith, both of whom are military veterans who find relief from PTSD with cannabis.
“After cannabis, you were able to kind of live life again. If you were scared, you weren’t so scared,” Roseman said in January. “It just kind of allows you to be your best self as a medication, which is unbelievable.”
Smith and Roseman lobbied for the creation of licenses for microbusinesses and delivery operators so that more people can enjoy the benefits of cannabis.
“Delivery is very special to us,” said Smith. “We know that it’s very lucrative, but for Jenny and I, a lot of this is really based on access, and delivery is the best way to bring access to folks.”
A.J. Herrington is a San Diego-based freelance writer covering cannabis news, business, and culture.