Home-delivered cannabis begins in Massachusetts

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At least two companies announced this week that they had started operations. Lantern, a sister company to popular Drizly liquor delivery service, says it now serves the Boston area. Your Green Package, meanwhile, says its teams of drivers have hit the road in the greater Northampton area in the western end of the state.

Companies are among the first to benefit from the creation of new state licenses for recreational cannabis delivery companies. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission said on Friday that 11 companies had so far been licensed to deliver and three of them were now operational.

Cannabis advocates have been asking the state for years to authorize cannabis delivery companies, which are already licensed in one form or another in many of the 19 states that have legalized recreational cannabis, including California.

Aaron Goines, president of the Massachusetts Cannabis Association for Delivery advocacy group, said the new licenses are key to making the local cannabis industry fairer. He and others have argued that the financial investment and regulatory approvals required to open a traditional brick-and-mortar retail operation are sometimes too great for minority entrepreneurs to overcome.

“This type of license is a major part of the equation for making the Massachusetts cannabis industry more diverse, fair and inclusive,” Goines said in a statement at the time.

True, the delivery of medical cannabis has long been permitted in the state. But consumers could only purchase recreational cannabis in stores, and additional services such as curbside pick-up were only allowed by regulators relatively recently.

Major cannabis retailers have also filed a lawsuit to block the state’s delivery service rules, but ultimately dropped their legal challenge earlier this year.

The licensing process creates two new types of cannabis businesses: “couriers” who carry orders from an established retail store and “delivery operators” who can buy products from manufacturers and sell them. to customers. There is also a third “Delivery Rider” which allows existing cannabis operators to make deliveries.

Those approved so far include nine with courier licenses and two with delivery endorsements, according to the state cannabis commission.

State regulations also set strict rules for the delivery process. Delivery vehicles must be staffed with at least two employees and equipped with a GPS tracker, secure storage area and other protective devices. Customers are also required to provide photo ID for verification and the gate transaction is recorded on an employee body camera.

For the first three years, delivery licenses are available exclusively to participants in state programs designed to encourage more entrepreneurs of color in the cannabis industry. State regulators have said more than 500 applicants were initially eligible.

State regulators have said Lantern does not need a state license because it is considered a third-party technology provider.

Like Drizly, it’s an online platform where customers can search for cannabis products and buy them from vendors. The company is partnering with two Massachusetts-based cannabis companies for the service, which caters to customers aged 21 and older.

Freshly Baked is a veteran-owned cannabis brand based in Taunton and recognized for making the first inaugural delivery under the new licensing process last month. And We Can Deliver is a licensed Boston-based courier service.

Lantern began shipping medical cannabis to Massachusetts last year. It also operates in Michigan and Colorado.

Your Green Package, meanwhile, is a Massachusetts company majority owned by women and people of color, reports The Daily Hampton Gazette.

He partnered with New England Treatment Access, which operates cannabis dispensaries in Northampton and the Boston suburb of Brookline. Your green package says it will deliver cannabis products to both regions of the state.

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