By Chris Lisinski
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Massachusetts' cannabis regulators voted Monday to overhaul their approach toward rolling out social consumption locations, sometimes referred to as marijuana cafes, that voters embraced in the 2016 ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana use.
The Cannabis Control Commission will scrap a 12-municipality pilot program for businesses where patrons can consume marijuana products on-site and focus on crafting broader regulations governing the practice and how to license social consumption facilities.
Commissioner Bruce Stebbins, who served on a working group that explored the issue, said the process of standing up and running a pilot program would be "both burdensome and expensive."
"Right now, to help direct our work, we don't feel that the pilot program is needed as it's written. So help us take that work off our plate," Stebbins said on behalf of the working group.
"Our feeling is that eliminating the pilot program will help us dive in to building that licensing and regulatory framework."
Opinions Have Shifted, But Stigma Lingers Around Cannabis
Despite the fact that marijuana has been legal in Massachusetts for years, many still associate the term "cannabis" with "criminal."
Commissioner Kimberly Roy voted present on the motion to spike the social consumption pilot language from CCC regulations, saying she did not have "enough information around public safety, public health and equity" impacts. All other commissioners voted in favor.