NETA closer to selling retail pot after state OKs labs

recreational marijuana
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

By Patrick Lovett
Boston University Statehouse Program

This article was originally published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

BOSTON — New England Treatment Access in Northampton is another step closer to selling recreational marijuana after two testing laboratories were issued final licenses by the state Cannabis Control Commission Thursday.

The commission’s votes in favor of licensing MCR Labs in Framingham and CDX Analytics in Salem were the latest milestones in the state’s prolonged rollout of recreational marijuana. The two labs already test marijuana for medical use.

While the commission unanimously approved CDX’s license, MCR Labs was approved with a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan opposing. Last year, an employee of MCR Labs was caught stealing marijuana from the testing facility, raising concern about its security. Commission staff said MCR Labs addressed the incident properly and were qualified for licensing.

NETA, along with Cultivate in Leicester, was already granted licensing to sell pot to the public Oct. 4. Still, the businesses had to wait for state testing laboratories to be properly licensed, too.

After the business was licensed, NETA spokesman Norton Arbelaez said the business hoped to start selling in a month. On Thursday, Peter Brown, conducting media outreach for NETA, said they are working to maintain that timeline.

The commission also discussed the future of marijuana home delivery at the meeting. Commissioner Britte McBride suggested licensing “micro-businesses” to deliver recreational marijuana on a small scale and the commission plans to discuss the proposal further in the future.

NETA is not concerned with home delivery at the moment, according to Brown. “The whole focus is really just on our retail at this point,” he said.

The commission voted to delay the implementation of cannabis cafes and home delivery late in February following calls to slow the implementation of recreational marijuana by Gov. Charlie Baker and other executive leaders.

“This is a very tough industry to regulate straight out of the gate and people should crawl before they walk and walk before they run,” Baker told reporters.

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