Boycott spurs Massachusetts cannabis trade group to withdraw delivery suit

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A Massachusetts cannabis retail association is backing off its legal challenge to the state’s social equity-focused delivery licensing plan after a swift backlash from many of the group’s members.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA), which represents dozens of retailers, said it will drop its lawsuit against the state Cannabis Control Commission, which decided late last year to reserve delivery licenses for social equity participants and economic empowerment applicants for the first three years of the program.

A number of CDA members viewed the association’s legal action as an attack on social equity efforts, if not a racist move, The Boston Globe reported.

Within days, 10 companies reportedly announced they were leaving the association in protest, including the New England Treatment Access (NETA), the state’s largest marijuana operator.

In a statement provided to the Globe, the CDA said it had determined it was in the “best interest of the industry and our members to drop the lawsuit.”

“We all need to be working together on achieving our many shared objectives, including increasing the participation of a diverse set of entrepreneurs in the industry,” the association’s statement noted.

It was unclear Monday whether NETA and others will rejoin the association now that it will withdraw the lawsuit or whether any other business will challenge the state’s decision on delivery licenses.