Section 4. The Cannabis Control Commission
Terms Used In Massachusetts General Laws ch. 94G sec. 4
- Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
- Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
- Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
- Escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
- Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
- Interests: includes any form of membership in a domestic or foreign nonprofit corporation. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 156D sec. 11.01
- Joint committee: Committees including membership from both houses of teh legislature. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdictions and normally lack authority to report legislation.
- Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
- Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
- Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
(a) The commission shall have all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate its purposes including, but not limited to, the power to:
(i) appoint officers and hire employees;
(ii) establish and amend a plan of organization that it considers expedient;
(iii) execute all instruments necessary or convenient for accomplishing the purposes of this chapter;
(iv) enter into agreements or other transactions with a person, including, but not limited to, a public entity or other governmental instrumentality or authority in connection with its powers and duties under this chapter;
(v) appear on its own behalf before boards, commissions, departments or other agencies of municipal, state or federal government;
(vi) apply for and accept subventions, grants, loans, advances and contributions of money, property, labor or other things of value from any source, to be held, used and applied for its purposes;
(vii) provide and pay for advisory services and technical assistance as may be necessary in its judgment to carry out this chapter and fix the compensation of persons providing such services or assistance;
(viii) prepare, publish and distribute, with or without charge as the commission may determine, such studies, reports, bulletins and other materials as the commission considers appropriate;
(ix) require an applicant for licensure under this chapter to apply for such licensure and approve or disapprove any such application or other transactions, events and processes as provided in this chapter;
(x) determine which applicants shall be awarded licenses;
(xi) deny an application or limit, condition, restrict, revoke or suspend a license;
(xii) establish a registration process, based on finding of suitability or approval of licensure;
(xiii) fine a person licensed, registered, found suitable or approved for licensure, for any cause that the commission deems reasonable;
(xiv) gather facts and information applicable to the commission’s obligation to issue, suspend or revoke licenses, registrations, finding of suitability or approval of licensure for: (A) a violation of this chapter or any regulation adopted by the commission; (B) willfully violating an order of the commission directed to a licensee or a person required to be registered; (C) the conviction of a criminal offense; or (D) any other offense which would disqualify such a licensee from holding a license;
(xv) conduct investigations into the qualifications of all applicants for employment by the commission and all applicants for licensure;
(xvi) receive from the state police, the department of criminal justice information services or other criminal justice agencies including, but not limited to, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, such criminal offender record information relating to criminal and background investigations as necessary for the purpose of evaluating licensees, applicants for license, and lab agents as provided in section 21;
(xvii) be present, through its inspectors and agents, at any time, in marijuana establishments for the purposes of exercising its oversight responsibilities;
(xviii) inspect and have access to all equipment and supplies in a marijuana establishment;
(xix) seize and remove from the premises of a marijuana establishment and impound any marijuana, equipment, supplies, documents and records obtained or possessed in violation of this chapter for the purpose of examination and inspection;
(xx) for cause, demand access to and inspect all papers, books and records of close associates of a licensee whom the commission suspects is involved in the financing, operation or management of the licensee; provided, however, that the inspection, examination, photocopying and audit may take place on the affiliate’s premises or elsewhere as practicable and in the presence of the affiliate or its agent;
(xxi) require that the books and financial or other records or statements of a licensee be kept in a manner that the commission considers proper;
(xxii) impose fees and fines, as authorized by this chapter and penalties and sanctions for a violation of this chapter or any regulations promulgated by the commission;
(xxiii) collect fees under this chapter;
(xxiv) conduct adjudicatory proceedings and promulgate regulations in accordance with chapter 30A;
(xxv) refer cases for criminal prosecution to the appropriate federal, state or local authorities;
(xxvi) maintain an official internet website for the commission;
(xxvii) monitor any federal activity regarding marijuana; and
(xxviii) adopt, amend or repeal regulations for the implementation, administration and enforcement of this chapter.
(a 1/2) The commission shall, in accordance with chapter 30A, adopt regulations consistent with this chapter for the administration, clarification and enforcement of laws regulating and licensing marijuana establishments. The regulations shall include:
(i) methods and forms of application which an applicant for a license shall follow and complete before consideration by the commission;
(ii) a schedule of application, license and renewal fees in an amount necessary to pay for all regulation and enforcement costs of the commission; provided, however, that fees may be relative to the volume of business conducted or to be conducted by the marijuana establishment;
(iii) qualifications for licensure and minimum standards for employment that are directly and demonstrably related to the operation of a marijuana establishment and similar to qualifications for licensure and employment standards in connection with alcoholic beverages as regulated under chapter 138; provided, that a prior conviction solely for a marijuana-related offense or for a violation of section 34 of chapter 94C shall not disqualify an individual or otherwise affect eligibility for employment or licensure in connection with a marijuana establishment, unless the offense involved the distribution of a controlled substance, including marijuana, to a minor;
(iv) procedures and policies to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities;
(v) standards for the licensure of marijuana establishments, including, but not limited to updating that licensure;
(vi) standards for the reporting or payment of licensure fees or taxes;
(vii) requirements for the information to be furnished by an applicant or licensee;
(viii) criteria for evaluation of the application for a license;
(ix) requirements for the information to be furnished by a licensee relating to the licensee’s employees;
(x) requirements for fingerprinting or other method of identification of an applicant for a license or a licensee;
(xi) procedures and grounds for the revocation or suspension of a license or registration;
(xii) minimum uniform standards of accounting procedures;
(xiii) requirements for record keeping by marijuana establishments and procedures to track marijuana cultivated, processed, manufactured, delivered or sold by marijuana establishments;
(xiv) any necessary registration requirements for employees working at the marijuana establishment;
(xv) requirements that all marijuana establishment employees be properly trained in their respective professions as necessary;
(xvi) procedures for the interim authorization of a marijuana establishment under this chapter;
(xvii) minimum standards for the requirement that all licensees possess and operate an interoperable publicly available application programming interface seed-to-sale tracking system sufficient to ensure the appropriate track and trace of all marijuana cultivated, processed or manufactured pursuant to this chapter;
(xviii) minimum security requirements for licensees sufficient to deter and prevent theft and unauthorized entrance into areas containing marijuana, which shall include but not be limited to the use of security cameras, provided that the requirements shall not prohibit the cultivation of marijuana outdoors or in greenhouses;
(xix) minimum standards for liability insurance coverage or requirements that a certain sum be placed in escrow to be expended for coverage liabilities;
[Clause (xx) of subsection (a 1/2) effective until fulfillment of the conditions of 2017, 55, Sec. 82. For text effective upon fulfillment of the conditions of 2017, 55, Sec. 82, see below.]
(xx) requirements and standards sufficient to ensure for the virtual separation of marijuana cultivated, processed, manufactured, delivered or sold by a licensee that is also licensed as a medical marijuana treatment center pursuant to chapter 369 of the acts of 2012. Such requirements shall leverage seed-to-sale tracking technology and may allow for the appropriate transfer or acquisition of marijuana seeds, clones, cuttings, plants or plant tissue between such entities;
[Clause (xx) of subsection (a 1/2) as amended by 2017, 55, Sec. 27 effective upon fulfillment of the conditions of 2017, 55, Sec. 82. For text effective until fulfillment of the conditions of 2017, 55, Sec. 82, see above.]
(xx) requirements and standards sufficient to ensure for the virtual separation of marijuana cultivated, processed, manufactured, delivered or sold by a licensee that is also licensed as a medical marijuana treatment center pursuant to chapter 94I. Such requirements shall leverage seed-to-sale tracking technology and may allow for the appropriate transfer or acquisition of marijuana seeds, clones, cuttings, plants or plant tissue between such entities;
(xxi) requirements and procedures to prevent the sale, delivery or transfer of marijuana to persons under 21 years of age, or the purchase of marijuana on behalf of a person under 21 years of age, including a prohibition on persons under 21 entering marijuana establishments;
(xxii) standards for manufacturing or extracting cannabinoid oils or butane hash oil;
(xxiii) health and safety standards, established in consultation with the department of public health and the department of agricultural resources, for the cultivation, processing, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana, including standards regarding sanitation for the preparation, storage, handling and sale of food products, including compliance with state sanitation requirements set forth in 105 CMR 500.000, and health inspections; provided, however, that the authority to promulgate regulations pertaining to the use of pesticides shall remain with the department of agricultural resources;
(xxiv) requirements for the packaging of marijuana and marijuana products that shall, at a minimum: (1) require the most current consumer product safety commission standards, set forth in 16 C.F.R. 1700 et seq.; (2) protect children from accidently ingesting marijuana or marijuana products, including by making packaging certified child-resistant and resealable; (3) require the division of each serving within a package containing multiple servings in a manner that allows consumers and card holders to easily identify a single serving; (4) prohibit the use of bright colors, cartoon characters and other features designed to appeal to minors; (5) ensure that packaging is opaque or plain in design; (6) limit each serving size to no greater than 10 milligrams of delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9–THC); and (7) prohibit any packaging that imitates or has a semblance to any existing branded consumer products, including foods and beverages, that do not contain marijuana;
(xxv) requirements for the potency or dosing limitations of edible marijuana products sold by licensees;
(xxvi) requirements for the labeling of a package containing marijuana or marijuana products that shall, at a minimum, include: (1) a symbol or easily recognizable mark issued by the commission that indicates the package contains marijuana or a marijuana product; (2) a symbol or other easily recognizable mark issued by the commission on the package indicating to children that the product is harmful to children; (3) the name and contact information of the marijuana cultivator or the marijuana product manufacturer who produced the marijuana or marijuana product; (4) the results of sampling, testing and analysis conducted by a licensed independent testing laboratory; (5) a seal certifying the marijuana meets such testing standards; (6) a unique batch number identifying the production batch associated with manufacturing, processing, and cultivating; (7) a list of ingredients and possible allergens; (8) the amount of delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9–THC) in the package and in each serving of a marijuana product as expressed in absolute terms and as a percentage of volume; (9) the number of servings in a package if there are multiple servings; (10) a use-by date, if applicable; and (11) the following statement, including capitalization: ”This product has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA. There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN.”;
(xxvii) procedures and policies, in cooperation with the department of agricultural resources, to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by farmers and businesses of all sizes, which shall include creating a schedule of cultivator license fees commensurate with cultivation size and regulations to create a craft marijuana cultivator cooperative system including, but not limited to, the following: (1) a limitation on ownership interests in a marijuana cultivator cooperative; (2) a limit on the total marijuana produced by a craft marijuana cultivator by the number of plants, surface area used for cultivation or output by weight; and (3) a reasonable fee for licensure as a craft marijuana cultivator cooperative;
(xxviii) requirements for the safe disposal of excess, contaminated, adulterated or deteriorated marijuana, which shall consider policies which promote the recycling of such waste, including, but not limited to, recycled industrial products;
(xxix) requirements for advertising, marketing and branding of marijuana and marijuana products that shall, at a minimum, include: (1) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding in such a manner that is deemed to be deceptive, false or misleading; (2) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding by means of television, radio, internet, billboard or print publication unless at least 85 per cent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, as determined by reliable, up-to-date audience composition data; (3) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding that utilizes statements, designs, representations, pictures or illustrations that portray anyone less than 21 years of age; (4) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding including, but not limited to, mascots, cartoons, brand sponsorships and celebrity endorsements, that is deemed to appeal to a person less than 21 years of age; (5) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding, including statements by a licensee, that makes any false or misleading statements concerning other licensees and the conduct and products of such other licensees; (6) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding through certain identified promotional items as determined by the commission, including giveaways, coupons or ”free” or ”donated” marijuana; (7) a prohibition on advertising, marketing and branding by a licensee that asserts its products are safe, other than labeling required pursuant to this chapter; (8) a reasonable prohibition on timing and use of illuminated external signage, which shall comply with all local ordinances and requirements, and a prohibition on neon signage; (9) a prohibition of the use of vehicles equipped with radio or loud speakers for the advertising of marijuana; (10) a prohibition on the use of radio or loud speaker equipment in any marijuana establishment for the purpose of attracting attention to the sale of marijuana; (11) an allowance that a licensee may sponsor a charitable, sporting or similar event, but a prohibition of advertising, marketing and branding at, or in connection with, such an event unless at least 85 per cent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older, as determined by reliable, up-to-date audience composition data; (12) a requirement that the website of a marijuana establishment shall verify that the entrant is at least 21 years of age; (13) a prohibition on the use of unsolicited pop-up advertisements on the internet; and (14) a requirement that all advertising, marketing or branding materials for marijuana and marijuana products contain a standard health warning developed by the department of public health;
(xxx) procedures and requirements to enable the transfer of a license for a marijuana establishment to another qualified person or to another suitable location with notification and approval by the commission;
(xxxi) requirements to establish a process allowing the commission to order a prohibition on the sale of a marijuana product found especially appealing to persons under 21;
(xxxii) requirements to establish a process allowing a marijuana product manufacturer to voluntarily submit a product, its packaging and intended marketing to the commission for review of whether the product is especially appealing to persons under 21;
(xxxiii) requirements that prohibit marijuana product manufacturers from altering or utilizing commercially-manufactured food products when manufacturing marijuana products unless the food product was commercially manufactured specifically for use by the marijuana product manufacturer to infuse with marijuana; provided, however, that a commercially-manufactured food product may be used as an ingredient in a marijuana product if: (i) it is used in a way that renders it unrecognizable as the commercial food product in the marijuana product; and (ii) there is no statement or advertisement indicating that the marijuana product contains the commercially-manufactured food product; and
(xxxiv) energy and environmental standards for licensure and licensure renewal of marijuana establishments licensed as a marijuana cultivator or marijuana product manufacturer.
(b) In furtherance of the intent of this act, the commission may also adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 30A of the General Laws which:
(1) establish and provide for issuance of additional types or classes of licenses to operate marijuana-related businesses, including licenses that authorize only limited cultivation, processing, manufacture, possession or storage of marijuana or marijuana products, limited delivery of marijuana or marijuana products to consumers, licenses that authorize the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products on the premises where sold, licenses that authorize the consumption of marijuana at special events in limited areas and for a limited time and licenses intended to facilitate scientific research or education;
(c) Regulations made pursuant to this section shall not:
(1) prohibit the operation of a marijuana establishment either expressly or through regulations that make operation of a marijuana establishment unreasonably impracticable;
[There is no clause (2).]
(3) require a customer to provide a marijuana retailer with identifying information other than identification to determine the customer’s age and shall not require the marijuana retailer to acquire or record personal information about customers other than information typically required in a retail transaction;
(4) prohibit a medical marijuana treatment center and an experienced marijuana establishment operator from operating a medical marijuana treatment center and a marijuana establishment at a shared location;
(5) prohibit marijuana establishments from transferring or acquiring marijuana seeds, clones, cuttings, plants or plant tissue from other marijuana establishments or from medical marijuana treatment centers or prohibit a marijuana establishment from transferring or otherwise selling marijuana to a marijuana retailer, a marijuana product manufacturer or a marijuana cultivator; or
(6) prohibit marijuana establishments from using inorganic cultivation methods.
(d) The commission shall administer the laws and regulations relating to licensing in this chapter.
(e) Each fiscal year the commission shall submit an annual finance plan to the secretary of administration and finance, and updates to such plan, in accordance with instructions issued by said secretary.
(f) The commission shall investigate, in conjunction with the department of public health, the effects of marijuana and marijuana products with a high potency of tetrahydrocannabinol on the human body and recommend whether there should be restrictions on the potency of tetrahydrocannabinol in marijuana and marijuana products.
(g) The commission shall hold a public hearing before the adoption, amendment or repeal of any regulation. Adjudicatory proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 30A of the General Laws and to standard rules of adjudicatory procedure established pursuant to section 9 of chapter 30A of the General Laws.
(h) The commission shall annually submit a complete and detailed report of the commission’s activities, including a review of the implementation and enforcement of this chapter and the governance structure established in this chapter, not more than 90 days after the end of the fiscal year to the governor, the attorney general, the treasurer and receiver-general, the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the chairs of the joint committee on marijuana policy and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means.
(i) The commission shall annually review the tax rate established by chapter 64N and may make recommendations to the general court, as appropriate, regarding any changes to the tax rate that further the intent of this chapter. The commission may study marijuana commerce and make recommendations to the general court regarding changes in the laws that further the intent of this chapter by filing those recommendations with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the recommendations to the joint committee on marijuana policy, the joint committee on consumer protection and professional licensure, the joint committee on revenue, the joint committee on mental health, substance use and recovery, the joint committee on public health and any other committee deemed appropriate by the commission.
(j) The commission shall deposit all license, registration and monetary penalties collected pursuant to this chapter in the Marijuana Regulation Fund established by section 14 of this chapter.
(k) The commission and the department of public health shall work collaboratively to ensure that the production and distribution of marijuana is effectively regulated in the commonwealth in furtherance of the intent of this act.
(l) The commission shall promulgate advisory guidelines and best practices on the cultivating of marijuana within a person’s primary residence.