Weekly Wrapup: Delays for Massachusetts MMJ? + Arizona on Track After Court Win
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A state passes medical marijuana laws, sets a time frame for the launch of dispensaries and then misses the initial deadlines as officials struggle with implementation and other challenges.
This scenario seems to play out in every new MMJ state these days, from Arizona and New Jersey to Rhode Island and Washington DC.
And now we might see it again, this time in Massachusetts. Last week, we wrote about growing pressure on the health department to delay the state’s marijuana dispensary program by six to nine months.
Under the voter-approved law, the government has until the end of April to create a regulatory framework for dispensaries. But local officials in many towns and cities across Massachusetts – as well as several state lawmakers – say they need more time to sort through the many issues tied to the new law, particularly in the area of zoning. The state health department is also dealing with several other big challenges such as a fungal meningitis outbreak, which will make it difficult to craft regulations in just four months.
Based on the situation in other states, there’s a good chance the government will acquiesce and delay the launch of dispensaries, possibly until 2014.
All of this provides some valuable lessons for entrepreneurs hoping to start a medical cannabis business in a new MMJ state: Prepare for a hefty amount of uncertainty, remain flexible so you can deal with unexpected setbacks and don’t quit your day job right away. Also, you might want to tack on at least a few extra months to any initial deadlines set by the state for planning purposes.
Also last week, the Arizona MMJ industry celebrated yet another important court victory that pretty much ensures dozens of dispensaries will be able to open as planned in the coming months. In a nutshell, a court rejected an attempt by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to deny upstart dispensaries zoning approvals while an appeal of a previous ruling is pending. Had the court ruled in favor of Montgomery, local officials could have prevented some – or possibly even all – planned dispensaries from opening.
The Arizona MMJ program is now back on track, and government officials have exhausted most of their legal options. Threats still remain: The ultimate fate of the state’s medical cannabis industry will be decided by an appeals court. But for now, the MMJ community can move full steam ahead.
Other top stories in MMJ Business Daily last week:
Dispensaries and retail cannabis stores in Colorado sold nearly 150,000 pounds of marijuana flower last [click to continue...]
Recreational marijuana has dominated headlines out of Washington DC this week, as the use, possession [click to continue...]
A company that got turned down for one of the Illinois’ 21 medical marijuana cultivation [click to continue...]
A financial services firm that plans to serve the cannabis industry has secured $2 million [click to continue...]
Alaska marijuana entrepreneurs who want to specialize in infused products or extracts will have to [click to continue...]
With private marijuana use on track to become legal in Washington DC on Thursday barring [click to continue...]
Oregon is facing an interesting question tied to its medical marijuana law: Should evicted cannabis [click to continue...]
Institutional investors will put money into cannabis stocks this year, though many publicly traded MJ [click to continue...]
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has sent a bill to state lawmakers calling for the establishment [click to continue...]
Canadian stock regulators have a word of warning for those investing in MMJ companies north [click to continue...]
At least half of Minnesota’s medical marijuana dispensaries will be unionized. The United Food and [click to continue...]
Dispensary owners in New York may have a niche customer base to tap when they [click to continue...]
A U.S. investment fund has cemented its second deal with a Canadian cannabis grower this [click to continue...]
Dispensary owners in San Jose, California, are in a dispute with the city over unpaid [click to continue...]