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:
An upstart credit union in Colorado that hoped to serve the marijuana industry and had [click to continue...]
If the newly installed chief of the Drug Enforcement Agency isn’t an ally of marijuana, [click to continue...]
The beleaguered campaign to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in Ohio now faces yet another [click to continue...]
A key drug abuse expert has come out publicly saying that CBD is safe and [click to continue...]
Even though Florida hasn’t awarded its five CBD licenses to nurseries that applied earlier this [click to continue...]
A group of unlicensed dispensaries that have resisted attempts to shut them down are now [click to continue...]
Lawmakers in the United Kingdom must consider debating the merits of marijuana after more than [click to continue...]
The wait is nearly over. The New York Department of Health confirmed that it plans [click to continue...]
The third recreational cannabis state is now just months away from beginning sales. Oregon residents [click to continue...]
A dispensary in Nevada that has been hoping to open since February is considering filing [click to continue...]
Nineteen Washington State marijuana stores face suspensions and fines after they failed to properly check [click to continue...]
Concerned with what might happen if voters legalize recreational marijuana at the ballot next year, [click to continue...]
After evaluating a fatal accident that took place last year in Denver, the Center for [click to continue...]
Israel, one of the world’s leading countries on medical cannabis research, will soon be dispensing [click to continue...]