Massachusetts residents were expecting to be able to visit retail marijuana stores on July 1, but they’re still waiting. Regulators are estimating that the state has already missed out on $16 million in tax revenue with the slow rollout of licenses. Some cite staffing issues and bureaucracy within the Cannabis Control Commission as part of the problem.
The state’s budget for fiscal year 2019 was counting on at least $63 million in marijuana tax revenue, according to the Berkshire Eagle. Another estimated reason for the delays in retail licensing procedures is the postponement in issuing licensing for testing labs. It’s also noted that the lack of staff should also have been made a priority to speed up the process.
Will Luzier said, “The Cannabis Control Commission needs to pick up the pace. We’re not here for cannabis operators; we’re here for the consumers and voters of the commonwealth that don’t understand why this is taking so long.”
Officials noted that, “Due to delays in licensing, actual collections of marijuana tax revenues may be lower than originally projected.”
James Borghesani said, “I’m seeing this structure to repeat itself now and I think it’s very troubling.”
Borghesani also said, “I’m not inside the Cannabis Control Commission, so none of us can say that this is what they’re doing on a daily basis or this is not what they are doing on a daily basis but one thing we’re worried about is an overly bureaucratic agency that just moves too slow and moves slower than the voters of Massachusetts desire.”
There have been 38 provisional licenses approved with 15 of those being for retail stores. The proprietors cannot open their doors until final inspections and certifications of compliance are completed. Some of those inspections have been scheduled and one is reportedly completed.