Cannabis & the Law

We have developed this blog specifically to track the creation of the regulatory framework for the cannabis industry in Massachusetts and provide insight on legal issues of concern to potential operators.

The Green Mountain state has taken a significant step toward legalizing recreational cannabis.  On September 17, 2020, the Vermont House of Representatives adopted the Conference Committee report for S.B. 54, an act relating to the regulation of cannabis.  The Conference Committee has had custody of the bill since early this year and was tasked with reconciling the significant differences between the bill and a similarly-intentioned, but substantively different, bill passed by the Senate in…
Illinois’ widely-watched application process for handing out 75 adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses has now wound up in federal court, following the September 4, 2020 filing of a lawsuit by several unsuccessful applicants.  The state on September 3, 2020 announced its intention to complete the licensing process – which had already been delayed several months – through a lottery including 21 of the roughly 700 dispensary applicants. Many of the plaintiff applicants are owned by veterans,…
The Office of Cannabis Business Regulation within the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation is currently accepting applications for six new Compassion Center licenses.  One license will be awarded for each of the six zones delineated in the license application materials, and applicants must apply for a license in a specific zone.  The application period commenced on July 17, 2020 and will remain open until 3 p.m. on December 15, 2020.  The license application materials…
On August 28, 2020, the Cannabis Control Commission held a meeting to discuss the public comments on proposed amendments to the Commission’s adult-use and medical marijuana regulations.  By way of background, the Commission posted draft regulatory amendments in late July, hosted a public hearing on the amendments on August 3rd and accepted written public comments on the amendments until August 15th.  Since the 15th, the Commissioners and staff have reviewed all of the public comments…
Spurred by Commissioner Kay Doyle, the Cannabis Control Commission has solicited public comments on whether it should dismantle the vertical integration model for Marijuana Treatment Centers in the Commonwealth.  In a formal public notice dated August 11, 2020, the Commission explains that it will be considering whether to allow vertically-integrated MTCs to, subject to existing licensing caps, apply for certain adult-use endorsements, including cultivation, marijuana product manufacturing, or retail endorsements, which are not available to…
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has published an ambitious regulatory update of both adult use regulations at 935 CMR 500.000, medical marijuana establishment regulations at 935 CMR 501.000, and co-located adult-use and medical-use marijuana regulations at 935 CMR 500.000.  The CCC is holding a virtual public hearing on August 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM, and accepting written comments on the regulations up through August 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM. The draft regulations touch upon a…
As part of sweeping recommendations touching upon subjects ranging from climate change to criminal justice reform to healthcare, the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations recently previewed a framework for federal cannabis regulation under a Biden administration.  Although the framework is thin on details, it reaffirms the widely-held belief among Democrats that the federal government should decriminalize cannabis and take affirmative steps to erase the scars of past criminal convictions arising from cannabis use. Most importantly,…
On June 24, John Elias, a former Acting Chief of Staff to the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, testified in front of the U.S. House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee that last year the Antitrust Division had investigated ten cannabis mergers and the California/automakers emissions agreements based on political pressure from Attorney General Bill Barr and not based on any concerns about harm to competition. In his testimony, based on a whistleblower…
In November 2019, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) released new regulations dictating that Marijuana Cultivators engaged in indoor cultivation must include a report of their energy and water usage over the 12-month period preceding the date of their license renewal applications. This requirement is outlined in 935 CMR 500.103(4)(c). All applications for renewal filed on or after July 1, 2020 must include this required documentation. The Cannabis PowerScore is specified by the Massachusetts CCC…
In September 2019, Metrc, a prominent cannabis seed-to-sale tracking company, filed suit against the Missouri Office of Administration (OA) requesting the ability to charge additional fees beyond those specified in its contract with the state. In April 2019, Metrc was awarded a five-million-dollar contract to oversee three of Missouri’s medical marijuana programs. Metrc was one of  20 bids for the contract. The Missouri Division of Purchasing advised bidders to provide “firm, fixed pricing” in their…