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Cannabis Control Commission Gives Final Approval on Revised Adult-Use Regulations

Following several rounds of revisions and public comment solicitations since July 2020, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) gave final approval on November 30 to revise the 935 CMR 500 adult-use regulations. A key feature of the new regulations is significant amendments to existing rules governing the Delivery-Only and Microbusiness Delivery Endorsement license types.

In addition to changing the “Delivery-Only” license to a “Delivery Courier” license, which will automatically convert all existing pre-certified Delivery-Only applicants to Delivery Courier applicants, the new regulations have created a third type of delivery license: the “Delivery Operator” license. This new license allows approved licensees to procure and warehouse “finished marijuana products” from licensed product manufacturers, cultivators, microbusinesses or craft marijuana cooperatives, and then both sell and deliver such products directly to consumers without the need for a retail storefront. Delivery Operator licensees may “white label” products (i.e., place their own branding on finished products packaged and sold to the Delivery Operator licensee by other licensed providers).

Additionally, all Delivery licensees will now be permitted to sell marijuana accessories, marijuana establishment-branded goods and non-edible items directly to consumers.

The new regulations have increased the economic empowerment and social equity applicants’ exclusivity period for Delivery Courier, Delivery Endorsements and Delivery Operator licenses from two to three years (beginning on the date the first Delivery Courier licensee receives a notice to commence operations).

Finally, and importantly, the CCC has clarified that licensees may hold up to three retail licenses and up to a combined total of two Delivery Courier and/or Delivery Operator licenses.

While many of the changes seem to have moved in the direction of creating more opportunities in the delivery space, groups representing cannabis retailers have stated that they are likely to bring legal challenges. Of particular concern is the ability for Delivery Operator licensees to warehouse and sell product without obtaining a retail license.