Written by: Taylor J. McBride

This week, honorable Judge Mary Celeste (ret.) led an upbeat seminar entitled New Marijuana Laws in New England: What To Expect, as part of the New England Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Marlborough, MA. Here’s five takeaways that are specifically relevant to Massachusetts from the seminar.

1. There are currently more jobs in the marijuana industry than in coal.

As the cannabis industry continues to expand with legislative changes, it is creating jobs related to growing, transporting, selling, and monitoring cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use. This is happening in large plateaus as new states enter the market and within the existing markets as new types of positions are created.

2. Massachusetts’ marijuana usage rate is at the top of all US states.

According to a 2018 study by The Executive Office of Health and Human Services by the Massachusetts Department of Health, 21% of adult Massachusetts residence have used marijuana recreationally in the past month. Along with Vermont this is possibly the most in the country.

3. PTSD is not a qualifying condition in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts’ list of medical conditions which can qualify a person to get a medicinal marijuana card is noticeably shorter than the lists of surrounding states New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut. One common condition absent from the Massachusetts list is post-traumatic-stress disorder, which is included for the four other states mentioned.

4. The first recreational-use marijuana store on the East Coast just opened in Northampton MA.

No medical condition is required to purchase marijuana from a recreational-use dispensary. NETA, the first recreational use dispensary in New England was opened in Northampton, MA on November 20th, 2018. During the first week of operation, this location, along with another that opened in Leicester MA the same week, collectively tallied $2.2 million in sales.

5. The state of MA is issuing a limited number of licenses for marijuana sales.

The state of Massachusetts is adopting a conservative approach, at least initially to the total number of licenses that it will approve for the sale of marijuana. According to Mass.gov, 42 applications (out of roughly 300) have been approved by the state for selling marijuana, as compared with 500+ dispensaries in the state of Colorado, where Mary Celeste hails from.

Honorable mention:

Medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the state of Rhode Island are called “compassion centers”. Fun fact.

Upcoming event for cannabis entrepreneurs in the Greater Boston Area:

Caldwell Intellectual Property Law is a proud sponsor of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge which fosters connections between technology enthusiasts, startup companies, and business services in the Boston and Cambridge area. If you’ve enjoyed this article, and live locally, you may also enjoy their upcoming event Cannabis Technology: High Possibilities. (For more information visit the link below to mitforumcambridge.org.)

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