Likelihood fades that MA retail cannabis shops can open by July 1 target

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The prospects that retail marijuana shops will open in Massachusetts by July 1 appeared to be dimming on Thursday.

The current law allows retail sales of recreational marijuana to begin on or after that July 1 date.

But the Cannabis Control Commission met without issuing the first commercial business licenses.

Steven Hoffman, the commission’s chairman, said regulators hoped to begin issuing licenses “shortly” but could not offer a specific timeline.

In many cases, the panel was still waiting for an outside contractor to complete background checks required for marijuana applicants, or for more information from cities and towns where those businesses would be located, he added.

Dozens of municipalities around the state have imposed moratoriums on cannabis businesses or restrictions on where they may be located.

Regulators said of the 1,145 applications for business licenses that had been started on the commission’s online portal since April 1, only 53 were fully complete and ready for final review.

Seventeen of those applications were for retail facilities and 17 for cultivation operations.

Of the 53 applications, officials said 36 came from entities that already operated medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and were bidding to add commercial sales.

Associated Press