Region: Eastern Cannabis Business Conference
Community Advocacy in Massachusetts
By Kaisha-Dyan McMillan
January 28, 2020

Community Advocacy in Massachusetts

With expanding legalization, the cannabis industry has the difficult task of aligning with local communities – and after decades of misinformation caused by prohibition, this is no easy feat. When Massachusetts voters approved adult-use in 2016, subsequent regulations required that local jurisdictions would be able to decide whether to accept or reject cannabis businesses. As a result, one of the key requirements for obtaining a license is that applicants for a proposed cannabis business must hold a Community Outreach Meeting. In this post, we explore the importance of community advocacy in The Bay State.

Expectations for Community Advocacy

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission guidance explains that an applicant must hold their Community Outreach Meeting within six months prior to submitting their Application of Intent. The meeting is to be held in a large assembly space such as a local school or town hall, and at least seven days prior to the meeting the applicant must publish a notice in a city or town newspaper detailing the meeting place, time, and subject matter, as well as the proposed address of the cannabis business. This notice must be filed with local authorities including the city or town clerk, the contracting authority, the planning board, and local adult-use cannabis licensing authority, and must also be mailed to owners whose property is adjacent to, directly opposite from, and within 300 feet of the proposed location.

The meeting is a powerful tool for cannabis business owners, enabling them to present their business directly to concerned residents while also demonstrating their commitment to being a positive, active force in the local community. Being transparent with meeting attendees about the essentials – which type of cannabis establishment will be at the location, which permits are required for the site, validation that the business is properly zoned, and much more – is the first step towards enabling cannabis business owners and local residents to maintain open lines of communication. Owners are able to answer questions and address concerns directly, including how they intend to prevent diversion to minors and ensure that their location “will not constitute a nuisance,” while also sharing their plans for creating a positive impact the community.

Be a part of the conversation during the educational session, “Community Advocacy In Massachusetts,” happening Thursday, February 20 during the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Northeast Cannabis Business Conference. Formerly Seed to Sale Show, #NECannaBizCon is your chance to hear the latest regional insights, explore emerging business opportunities, and widen your East Coast network at the industry’s only true B2B cannabis trade show to focus on the Northeast market. Meet with NCIA members, entrepreneurs, policymakers, industry leaders, and services providers on 40,000 square feet of expo floor. Join us February 19-20, 2020 at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center – Registration is now open!

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