By Brian Dowling Boston Herald
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With the Massachusetts recreational pot market poised to open in July, budding marijuana entrepreneurs are making sure their paperwork is in and they are ready to roll.
More than 200 entrepreneurs aiming to launch recreational pot companies took the first step to be certified by regulators on the first full day of applications.
The Cannabis Control Commission said 218 applications have been started and 274 user accounts have been created in its online licensing system as of its meeting yesterday morning.
Priority applications opened Monday at noon for businesses given "economic priority" and for already licensed medical marijuana dispensaries seeking to break into the recreational market, poised to open in July.
Five economic-priority businesses have completed their application for certification, with another 108 applications in the works.
The economic empowerment program is designed to "ensure that people from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana law enforcement are included in the new legal marijuana industry."
Sixteen of the economic priority applications have been withdrawn.
Eighteen applications have been submitted by existing marijuana dispensaries, with an additional 59 applications incomplete and 12 withdrawn so far.
Applicants who gain initial certification by the CCC can begin to apply for a recreational marijuana license beginning April 16.
Other companies without priority status can start to be licensed to be cultivators, craft marijuana cooperatives, microbusinesses and independent testing labs starting May 1. Retailers, product manufacturers and transporters can start to apply June 1.
CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said he was not surprised by the number of applications started on the first day.
"We were trying hard not to set expectations. ... I thought it was a good number but I did not have a specific number in mind," he said. "I'm just happy that it's substantial and the system has performed as expected."
The CCC's regulations for recreational pot went into effect last Thursday, establishing nine license categories for the industry in Massachusetts.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.