After being denied “essential business” status that could have kept them open during the coronavirus pandemic, Massachusetts’ recreational pot shops are about to re-open. For delivery anyway.
Massachusetts’ Republican Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday detailed a plan to reopen the state, which includes the adult-use marijuana stores that have been closed since late March.
Under the re-open plan, according to MassLive, marijuana stores in the state will be allowed to resume business on May 25 with curbside delivery.
This first portion of Baker’s four-phase plan will also allow other retailers to conduct curbside pickups, while permitting hair salons and certain offices to re-open.
“If we don’t keep up the fight and don’t do the things that we all know we have to do and know we can do, we run the risk of creating a second spike for all,” Baker said Monday, as quoted by MassLive.
Cannabis As Essential Business
Unlike other states where marijuana is legal, Baker did not budge in granting “essential” status to the Bay State businesses, arguing that keeping them open could attract out-of-state customers and exacerbate the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Significant numbers of the customers who procure cannabis at recreational marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are not from Massachusetts,” Baker said last month. “Making those sites available to anybody from the northeast would cut completely against the entire strategy we’re trying to pursue.”
Baker’s decision was a blow to the state’s two-year-old recreational marijuana market. A group of cannabis dispensaries in the state filed a lawsuit last month against Baker challenging his order requiring them to close down during the outbreak, but a judge sided with the governor, ruling that the governor acted within his authority.
Along with industry representatives, the state’s marijuana regulatory agency, the Cannabis Control Commission, also disagreed with Baker’s order, with Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) chairman Steve Hoffman saying earlier this month that it was “unfair that Massachusetts adult-use operators are the only ones that are shut down across the country and are not eligible for any kind of federal assistance.”