Still no pot shop licenses in state, July 1 target in doubt - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Still no pot shop licenses in state, July 1 target in doubt

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(Image Courtesy: MGN Online) (Image Courtesy: MGN Online)
BOSTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM/AP) -

Prospects for retail pot shops opening for business in Massachusetts by a July 1 target date appear to be dimming.

The state's Cannabis Control Commission met Thursday without issuing the first commercial business licenses under the state's voter-approved recreational marijuana law.

Steven Hoffman, the commission chairman, told reporters in Boston that regulators hope to begin issuing licenses "shortly," but added he couldn't offer a specific date.

Since Massachusetts residents voted to approve the use of recreational marijuana, pot shops statewide have been preparing for that July 1 opening date.

Mark Zatyrka, CEO of INSA, a medical marijuana dispensary with locations in Springfield and Easthampton, spoke to Western Mass News by phone after the meeting.

"At INSA, we do want to see a successful adult use program rolled out across the state.  If this means the CCC needs more time to ensure this process is handled appropriately and correctly, we support that decision," Zatyrka said.

Hoffman describes the July 1 date for retail sales given in the law as an "arbitrary deadline" and not a mandate. He says regulators are still awaiting background checks and other information on the more than two dozen entities that have applied for retail or other types of marijuana business licenses.

He says, "We are going to do this right."

"Our fingers are crossed that the people of Massachusetts will have access to recreational sales soon," Zatyrka added.

The panel's next meeting is Tuesday.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.  All rights reserved. 

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