BOSTON – When the state's Cannabis Control Commission approved new licensing requirements regarding both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana in Massachusetts last week, among the changes to licensing and application programs was the introduction of a new regulation approving home delivery of cannabis for recreational use.

While home delivery of medicinal marijuana has been legally available since 2017, last weeks’ approval is the first time the regulation has been extended to recreational use. But the change in policy is not as general as it may seem.

Under the program, delivery licenses will be initially available only to certified Economic Empowerment Priority applicants, Social Equity program participants and small businesses pending Commission approval for a two year probationary period.

Part of the program’s goal is to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth in urban communities where marijuana prohibition has had the greatest negative impact. Applicants must reside in an area of disproportionate impact for at least 5 out of the past 10 years and either have a previous drug conviction or are married or the child of someone who has. The state has identified 29 communities in Massachusetts as areas of disproportionate impact, including Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Lynn, and Quincy.

Unless the applicant is a small business with Commission approval, delivery services are limited only to distribute from other licensed retailers—not their own product. Delivery is limited only to Massachusetts cities which have approved recreational dispensaries and is prohibited from dorms, hotels, federally subsidized housing and locations other than a primary residence.

Pre-verification for delivery is available only for adults over the age of 21, who must provide both a drivers license or state issued ID along with proof of residence to the dispensary they order from. The use of body cameras during delivery has been enacted as a safety protocol—a stipulation which has drawn sharp criticism over the potential for privacy violation.

“Delivery is still going to take awhile,” said Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman in a press conference last week. “We still have to make sure that we’ve got the applications on our site. Applicants have to go through municipal processes in terms of getting host community agreements.”

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