Marijuana trade group drops state lawsuit after backlash

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This review apparently stung. Starting Friday night, a number of CDA member companies – nearly all of which had previously agreed to file and help fund the litigation – suddenly began announcing they were leaving in protest. As of Sunday, at least 10 companies had quit, including New England Treatment Access, the state’s largest marijuana operator and the first to drop the association.

With the group splitting up and support for the trial collapsing among the remaining members, CDA leaders appeared to have no choice but to withdraw the trial. Yet it was a startling turnaround from days earlier, when the group publicly accused that the commission had “overstepped its authority and ignored state law, radically upending established rules,” and sought to present a united front of large and small jar retailers. .

“The CDA has determined that it is in the best interests of the industry and our members to drop the lawsuit against the Cannabis Control Commission,” the association said in a statement provided to The Globe on Sunday. “We must all work together to achieve our many common goals, including increasing the participation of a diverse set of entrepreneurs in the industry.”

The commission declined to comment, saying it was not discussing litigation.

It is not clear whether the companies that left CDA will now join the association, or if any of the remaining companies will take similar legal action themselves.

The state’s other major marijuana trading group, the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association, had backed the new delivery licenses, saying they were essential to achieving fairness. in a hitherto little diversified industry. The group released a statement Monday “applauding[ing] the focused, tenacious and downright effective work of advocates to hold the emerging cannabis industry accountable ”and pledged to advocate for the removal of barriers preventing small players from business.

Cannabis organizers also celebrated the withdrawal of CDA from court, although they gave little credit to the companies that withdrew, noting that most initially supported the litigation.

“This is a victory for conscientious consumers, stock distribution companies and genuine grassroots activism,” said Grant Ellis, an attorney and medical marijuana patient who helped organize the lobbying campaign. “But the fact remains that, until forced to do otherwise by public pressure, CDA members were happy to sabotage the rollout of delivery licenses with a lawsuit that was clearly aimed at protecting their own profits. to the detriment of equity and a fair law. market. “

The new permits at issue will allow delivery companies to operate essentially like existing retailers, to purchase bulk quantities of marijuana products from suppliers and resell that inventory to consumers – except that they can bring the goods in. orders direct to consumers in unmarked vans, without the need for the kind of physical storefronts that often arouse neighborhood opposition.

Last year, traditional cannabis stores represented by CDA lobbied against the creation of the licenses, saying such delivery operators would unfairly undermine their business and represent a radical departure from the commission’s earlier vision, according to which Uber Eats style couriers would pick up all delivery orders from traditional marijuana stores.

But advocates have been successful in pressuring the agency to stick to the proposal, which gives entrepreneurs social equity and economic empowerment programs from the commission – largely black entrepreneurs and browns affected by the war on drugs – exclusive access to both types of delivery licenses for three years (from when the first such operator opens).

The dispensary association’s trial was somewhat narrowly suited to administrative and procedural grounds: rather than attacking the authority of the commission to create such a period of exclusivity, the complaint argued that the law of the The state defines marijuana retailers as having the ability to deliver marijuana. He also challenged the validity of the 3-1 vote in favor of the creation of the licenses, claiming that former Commissioner Shaleen Title was serving unduly beyond the end of his term at the time.

This warning did not appease the broad coalition of local lawyers, national cannabis justice groups, ordinary consumers and even officials who confronted CDA members on social media last week with accusations of racism and to demand an explanation of their participation in the challenge. The industry association initially responded by removing the website listing its members, but it was too late: activists had already saved the information and started circulating a list of dispensaries to boycott.


Dan Adams can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @ Dan_Adams86.



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