Massachusetts Adult-Use Dispensaries Partially Reopen

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Massachusetts Adult-Use Dispensaries Partially Reopen

May 29, 2020

Adult-use dispensaries re-opened for curbside pickup after being deemed non-essential in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) amended the guidelines that allow for curbside pickup at adult-use dispensaries in Massachusetts called “Phase I”. On March 19, recreational dispensaries closed as Governor Charlie Baker deemed medical dispensaries as essential and adult-use dispensaries as non-essential. 

Coronavirus Closes Massachusetts Adult-Use Dispensaries 

Massachusetts was a major outlier in deeming adult-use cannabis as non-essential. Every cannabis state allowed for adult-use sales to continue throughout the pandemic in some form with the exception of Massachusetts.

While medical sales continued in Massachusetts, a cease and desist was ordered for all recreational cannabis sales. Governor Baker’s reasoning for shuttering adult-use dispensaries was out of fear that residents from neighboring non-legal states would travel to Massachusetts and crowd stores. Some dispensaries owners filed a lawsuit to re-open during the pandemic, but that effort was denied. 

COVID-19 Challenges

Some adult-use dispensaries are claiming a loss of over $10 million in revenue due to the COVID-19 closures. Lost revenue is not the only issue for adult-use dispensaries re-opening in Massachusetts.

Ellen Rosenfeld, President of CommCan said her adult-use dispensary struggled with scaling curbside pickup on the day of re-opening. Typically, an average sale took about three minutes; with curbside pickup: 12-15 minutes. Other adult-use dispensary owners reported similar experiences while re-opening.    

Phase II and Beyond

Massachusetts officials laid out a 4-step process to reopen the state. Phase I allowed for manufacturers (including cannabis cultivation) to resume on May 18 and for retail stores (including adult-use dispensaries) to open with online fulfillment/curbside pickup on May 25.

Phase II will allow for retail stores to open stores to customers with a limited capacity. The Governor has not given a date on when Phase II might begin. Health experts predict Phase II will begin on June 8.