Baker: SOCIAL CONSUMPTION PILOT ‘WOULD MAKE A LOT OF SENSE’

  • In this Feb. 17, 2016 photo, plants grow at the home of Jeremy Nickle, in his backyard in Honolulu, Hawaii. Nickel, who owns Hawaiian Holy Smokes and is applying for a dispensary, grows a variety of strains and has a medical marijuana card. Those wanting to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii face unique obstacles in a state of islands separated by federal waters. (AP Photo/Marina Riker) Marina Riker

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Published: 5/14/2019 10:13:15 PM

As state regulators prepare to discuss and possibly vote on a policy to allow marijuana use in certain public social settings, Gov. Charlie Baker indicated Monday he could be open to a pilot program for things like pot cafes and lounges.

The Cannabis Control Commission is expected to have a “policy discussion” on Thursday about social consumption, or a policy that would allow adults to use marijuana in some form in a social setting. The commission initially drafted regulations to allow so-called social consumption but put the issues on the back burner after pushback last year from Baker.

“It’s not up to me, it’s up to the CCC,” Baker said Monday when asked about the policy the CCC plans to discuss Thursday. “What I’ve said many times about most of the issues associated with the rollout of recreational marijuana, is it’s really important that they, the CCC, understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it as they make these decisions.”

The CCC’s Cannabis Advisory Board (CAB) has previously recommended allowing social consumption and suggested that it could reduce the risk of children getting a hold of the drug and may limit how much legal marijuana is illegally transported out of state by tourists. The CAB also suggested that the CCC develop state limits on the “serving size” for social consumption, establish a maximum number of servings allowed per “immediate use package” that cities and towns could adjust, and set a maximum daily exposure limit at which point a budtender could decide to stop serving a consumer.

Asked by a reporter about the idea of starting social consumption as a pilot program before rolling it out more widely, Baker said he is a big fan of pilot programs and demonstrations.

“I think the issue around sort of enforcing the general rules of the game associated with how recreational marijuana is going to work when you get into the social consumption sites and all that comes with it are really hard and really complicated,” Baker said Monday. “And I think doing it on a pilot basis would make a lot of sense.”

The CCC will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Health Policy Commission’s offices on Mile Street in Boston. The commission will also consider 13 provisional licenses and one final business license.


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