- On July 18, 2023, the Cannabis Control Commission hosted the second in a series of three public listening sessions on social consumption licenses in Massachusetts.
- Public commenters spoke in support of accelerating the licensure of social consumption establishments and allowing customers of those establishments to smoke cannabis indoors.
- Concerns were raised regarding inebriated driving and several commenters recommended training for social consumption establishment employees so that they can identify signs of inebriation in customers.
On July 18, 2023, the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”) hosted the second in a series of three public listening sessions on social consumption licenses. This session, the only one of the three sessions that will be convened virtually, was led by the Commission’s Social Consumption Regulatory Working Group, chaired by Commissioners Nurys Camargo and Bruce Stebbins. Notably, on May 22, 2023, the Commission voted to eliminate the long-dormant Social Consumption Pilot Program as part of the agency’s ongoing regulatory review and drafting process. The listening sessions were conceived as a vehicle for the Commission to solicit public comments on the long-awaited launch of social consumption licensing in the Commonwealth. Several notable themes in the public comments included:
- Support for the Commission’s elimination of the Social Consumption Pilot Program, which was well-intentioned, but failed to result in movement toward the proliferation of social consumption establishments.
- Support for time-limited (e.g., 1-3 day) or seasonal event licensees within the framework of the social consumption license framework.
- Support for social consumption licenses that authorize smoking of cannabis in indoor locations. Several commenters remarked that medical patients are often prohibited by their leases from smoking cannabis in their homes. And, under existing state law, smoking cannabis in outdoor public spaces remains illegal.
- Support for allowing social consumption licensees to prepare foods on site and serve them to customers. Justifications for these proposals included extending the time consumers will spend in the establishment while they wait for the effects of the cannabis to dissipate and creating additional jobs and revenue streams.
- Support for economic empowerment and social equity applicant priority and/or exclusivity in social consumption licensure for a period of time (similar to the priorities granted to those cohorts with respect to delivery licenses).
- Concern about public safety and suggestion that staff at social consumption establishments be trained on identifying the signs of inebriation and counseling customers against impaired driving (similar to the TIPS training for bars).
There will be a final, in person, listening session on July 20, 2023 at Mass Bay Community College in Wellesley from 6-8PM. The Commission will also be accepting written public comments on social consumption from members of the public. Those interested in submitting written testimony can do so by emailing Commission@CCCMass.com with “Social Consumption Regulatory Working Group” in the subject line. We will continue to monitor the progress of the Social Consumption Regulatory Working Group and its development of a regulatory framework and for social consumption licenses.