Pot Panel Asks Western Mass. Residents For Feedback

Feb 5, 2018

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission held its first day of public listening sessions Monday in Pittsfield and Holyoke. The board is asking for feedback on proposed regulations for the state's marijuana industry.

While about 40 people attended the Pittsfield meeting, only nine spoke up.

A few said they're concerned the draft rules will make it financially hard for small business owners and farmers to get involved in the marijuana industry.

Lawrence Davis-Hollander cited potential security requirements as an issue. And he pointed to one rule, which would require all aspects of cultivation take place out of the public eye.

"In comparison, what are the security requirements for liquor stores, for pharmacies, for tobacco?" Davis-Hollander said. "Do we hide tobacco, a toxic substance, a deadly substance, out in the fields? No, we don't."

Brandon Pollock heads Berkshire County's only medical marijuana dispensary. He said he disagrees about one draft regulation -- which would require a physical barrier between where medical and recreational purchases would take place.

"If companies have to build out separate demising walls, separate entrances just to serve patients, market forces will, I would presume, lead to some companies not serving patients anymore," Pollock said.

The commission is also taking comments in writing through the middle of February, and must have final regulations ready by mid-March.