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MA Regulators Award State’s First Commercial Cannabis License

Sira Naturals becomes the states first licensed business

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts on Thursday issued its first business license for recreational marijuana, but it doesn’t mean any pot shops will be opening soon.

The five-member Cannabis Control Commission awarded a provisional Tier 3 cultivation license to Sira Naturals. That means the company can grow cannabis for the recreational market on 10,000 to 20,000 square feet at its existing cultivation facility in Milford.

The vote comes more than 18 months after voters approved a ballot question legalizing adult use of marijuana.

A cultivation license does not allow for direct sales to consumers. Massachusetts had targeted July 1 as the date for when retail sales would begin, but the commission has yet to issue any licenses to retailers.

The panel’s chairman, Steven Hoffman, said he expects licensing approvals to pick up in the coming weeks, but he has made no firm predictions for when the first pot shops will actually open.

Regulators and industry officials cite a variety of reasons for the slower-than-anticipated rollout, including the need to acquire necessary zoning approvals and other permits from host communities and to complete background checks on applicants.

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Massachusetts regulators, Hoffman has said, want to do things right and not repeat mistakes made in other legal recreational states that moved too hastily in opening up the commercial market.

Sira Naturals operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Somerville, Cambridge and Needham, but has not at this point applied for a retail license to sell recreational pot.

Milford, where the company is located, has voted to ban retail marijuana businesses.

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