The Massachusetts Legislature concluded formal sessions for the 2017-2018 Legislative Session in the early hours of August 1st. The days leading up to the conclusion of formal sessions became a legislative sprint to the finish as lawmakers scrambled to simultaneously pass key pieces of legislation while overriding vetoes the Governor had made to the House and Senate FY 2019 $41.88 billion dollar budget proposal.
On July 2nd, Cultivate Holdings, Inc. received the first non-medical retail marijuana license in Massachusetts, one day after the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) had hoped to start legal cannabis sales in Massachusetts. Sira Naturals, which is located in Milford and also currently operates as a medical marijuana dispensary, was also approved to manufacture marijuana-based products and transport marijuana. Sira Naturals had previously been granted permission to grow 20,000 sq. ft. of non-medical marijuana.
On November 6th, in addition to determining which state and local officials they want to elect to office, Massachusetts voters will also be faced with three ballot questions. Voters could have potentially headed to the polls this fall with as many as eight ballot questions; however, an act of the legislature called the “Grand Bargain” was able to resolve some of the ballot initiatives beforehand.
The Commonwealth’s annual fiscal budget commands the attention of individuals and industries across the spectrum each year – appropriating tens of billions of dollars to create, sustain, and grow economic opportunities throughout Massachusetts. The Budget is created, shaped, debated, and changed by the Governor’s Administration and both branches of the State Legislature, as well as citizens and advocates, during a seven month process.
According to the executive director of The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the CCC could award the first recreational marijuana business license in Massachusetts as early as this week. The CCC is currently reviewing 51 license applications from 28 entities which it has received over the past two months.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission met recently to discuss the issue of legalized sports betting in Massachusetts in light of arguments heard by the Supreme Court in Christie v. NCAA in December of 2017. The justices of the Supreme Court are expected to reach a decision regarding this case as early as April 2018. At this meeting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission released a white paper which detailed the effect that legalized sports betting could have in Massachusetts.
Nine months before it was anticipated that Senate President Harriette Chandler of Worcester would be succeeded, Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland announced that she had received enough votes to become the next Massachusetts Senate President.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to rescind a memo which addressed legal disparities between state and federal cannabis policies has generated concern among cannabis industry leaders and government officials in Massachusetts and around the country.
Shortly after formal session resumed on January 3rd, House and Senate leadership announced their priorities for the upcoming year which include: the budget, affordable housing, health care, criminal justice reform, short-term rental taxation, and paid sick leave.
Topics: Short Term Rentals
On October 20th, Massachusetts submitted a 182-page proposal to Amazon in hopes that Amazon will choose one of 26 potential sites in Massachusetts as the home of its second headquarters. It has been estimated that this second Amazon headquarters would generate five billion dollars in investment and add an additional 50,000 jobs. If Massachusetts is chosen, the positive impact to infrastructure and job growth would echo the January 2016 move of GE’s Headquarters to Boston from Connecticut, which resulted in up to 120 million dollars in infrastructure improvement and included 25 million dollars in local tax breaks.