Event Licenses permit the sale and consumption of cannabis at a public event like a concert, conference, or festival. Instead of smuggling your stash into an event and sneaking off like a criminal to smoke, you can stand in line to buy an overpriced pre-roll or edible and openly consume it (behind a fence). Events selling cannabis are a big step forward for legitimization, education, and increasing brand awareness. These licenses should compliment brick-and-mortar social consumption establishments in the process of expanding the places that people can legally consume the cannabis they legally purchased. Events present unique challenges for regulators and exciting opportunities for businesses.
These licenses are in the pipeline in Massachusetts and the Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended that regulations be developed for this license type. However, instead of including event licenses in the rollout of home delivery and social consumption licenses, the CCC has temporarily punted on drafting event license regulations and has stated that it will take up the issue in the Fall of 2019.
However, there is reason to believe that the CCC will look towards the existing alcohol event licenses in Massachusetts, as well as towards California which already has regulations in place for temporary cannabis events.
In fact, just a few days prior to this writing, San Francisco hosted its first major cannabis event in Golden Gate Park: the Outside Lands Festival had cannabis for sale and designated consumption areas. Given that California currently has more than 60 companies with active event licenses, it may soon be as common to see a cannabis garden as a beer garden.
In keeping with the Commonwealth’s overall cannabis regulatory scheme, the CCC can be expected to place a large amount of control of such event licenses in the hands of the local municipality, requiring the town to approve the event license prior to the CCC signing off. There may be an effort to prevent cannabis event license applications from being anymore burdensome than obtaining a special event alcohol license. In California, event hosts must acquire an annual state level license, and then seek a temporary local license for any specific event, and it’s possible the CCC will develop a similar structure.
Based on the existing Massachusetts’ laws and California’s regulations, we can expect events to have the some of the following restrictions:
Only persons age 21 and over in the cannabis area. This should apply only to the designated sale and consumption areas, not to the entire event.
Consumption of flower or vaping only in a designated consumption area. Consumption will have to be hidden from view (think fences or tents). It may be possible to permit consumption of infused edibles and beverages outside of the designated area.
No selling of alcohol where cannabis is sold. Although in CA, it appears that an event can designate a separate area for alcohol purchase and consumption and an attendee would be able to consume both products during the event.
Limits on consumption. The CCC draft regulations for brick-and-mortar social consumption establishments would limit an individual to purchasing 20mg of TCH per day. In contrast, San Francisco’s local regs for events put the individual daily limit at 7 grams of non-concentrated cannabis (i.e., flower) and 2 grams of concentrated cannabis.
Restrictions on who can sell at an event. It will likely only be already licensed retailers. In CA, non-retailers (like cultivators) can exhibit their product, but not sell. It would be nice to see the CCC provide a way for Craft Coops, Microbusinesses, and small-tier Cultivators to sell directly at events.
Restrictions on BYOC. Not surprisingly, you probably won’t be able to bring your own. CA doesn’t allow it, and it won’t be allowed in Massachusetts’ social consumption establishments.
Will Massachusetts see cannabis being sold at events next summer?