BOSTON – It was a packed house in the Financial District on Wednesday at the final public hearing before the Cannabis Control Commission votes this month on new regulations.
Among those regulations being considered: pot cafes and delivery service.
Mass. Chiefs of Police Liaison John Carmichael called the CCC’s proposed social consumption program a non-starter.
“The reason why it’s a non-starter is because we have to deal with the issue of impaired driving first,” said Carmichael.
The social consumption pilot program would allow up to 12 Bay State communities to open pot shops for on-site consumption for people 21 and up, but parents from suburban communities told the board their teens were at risk.
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“I think it sends a message to teens of normalizing marijuana,” said Theresa Hoggins.
Cannabis community activists like Sydney Griffith says the arguments against social consumption are fundamentally flawed.
“People can drink and decide not to drive. People can smoke and decide not to drive,” said Griffith.
The board will consider the public comments when they meet Thursday and there we could see a vote on social consumption sites, but it may not be the end.
Currently, it is only legal to smoke pot privately. If cannabis cafes are approved, the state law would have to be changed and if it does, the CCC says economic empowerment areas like Fitchburg and parts of Worcester will be the first to get the licenses.
Also discussed was the draft delivery program, which includes a requirement that pot delivery workers wear body cams. The expert advisory board voted against body cameras but the commission hasn’t taken up the issue.
“People get products delivered all the time. They’re not being recorded, and it’s just taking the fear of this new industry to an extreme,” said Raphael Richter.
The board wrapped up hearing public comment and will reconvene on Thursday.
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