By Paige Smith
Boston University Statehouse Program
BOSTON — Marijuana cultivators in Massachusetts will have to sell at least 70 percent of their product to expand production or risk relegation from their designated production tier, according to the final draft of regulations approved by the Cannabis Control Commission.
The proposed regulations, which reflect a change from the previous requirement to sell 85 percent of the product, also establish 11 tiers of cultivation licenses, according to Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman.
Potential licensees can apply for any of the tiers, which designate fees as well as other regulations.
The lower rate designed to ease pressure on cultivators who might otherwise “dramatically drop price or do other things like that to get rid of their product so that they can meet that 85 percent threshold,” Commissioner Kay Doyle said.
“I think that’s putting too much pressure on a marijuana establishment … to do things that we don’t necessarily want them to do,” Doyle said.
Doyle pointed out that Colorado, which has permitted recreational marijuana sales since 2014 and serves as a case study for many states now drafting their own restrictions, currently maintains a 70 percent relegation rate.
Hoffman echoed Doyle’s logic.
“The logic that Colorado had … was that 85 percent might cause some behavior that we’d probably prefer not to see, with people wanting to avoid falling below that threshold, and in terms of discounting, or aggressively pushing that product,” he said.
The relegation rate decrease was the most significant policy change to the final draft. Hoffman lauded the diversity of the commissioners in delivering a solid set of regulations.
“I think diversity is good. Occasionally messy, but it’s a good thing,” he said. “I think we ended up with a better set of regulations because of the diversity of the thought and the experience that we brought to the table.”
Hoffman expressed confidence with hitting the July 1 deadline for rolling out recreational marijuana sales in the Commonwealth.
“We need to make sure we have our staff in place, we need to make sure we have our technology in place, but our intent is to have a go on July 1,” Hoffman said. “We are hitting all of the deadlines for the legislation.”
Hoffman could not, however, predict the number of recreational facilities slated to open in the Bay State. The application period for licenses opens on Apr. 1.