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2024 Massachusetts Cannabis Predictions: Equity & Regulation Edition

Worker safety, research, testing, social consumption, delivery, and—finally—movement on the Social Equity Trust Fund

We are reporters, not soothsayers. The journalism we produce might put us in a position to make some predictions and publish the occasional in-house editorial when such measures are called for, but in looking at the year in front of us, we thought it would be best to leave the informed guesswork to direct industry stakeholders.

The comments below about equity and regulation, as well as our roundups of predictions regarding business and industry and retail and products, come from a mix of sources who have appeared in Talking Joints Memo before and impressed us, as well as some new contacts who are among many we hope to hear more from in 2024. Without further ado, here is what they have to say … 

Acting Chair Ava Callender Concepcion of the Cannabis Control Commission

“I’ve been thinking a lot about Lorna McMurrey. When I’m thinking into 2024, the focus on worker safety and worker health is part of the conversation.”*

Megan Dobro of SafeTiva Labs

“I’m not naïve to think that we will all thrive in 2024, but I think 2024 is going to be the year we make foundational changes to set up this local industry for success. We’ll need to have each other’s backs and we need to keep speaking up for what we want from the CCC and our legislators to see the changes we desperately need.”

Commissioner Kimberly Roy of the Cannabis Control Commission

“Testing is a focus for me.”*

Dr. Marion McNabb of Cannabis Center of Excellence

“Lab testing for cannabis in Massachusetts has been a large topic of discussion in 2023. I am grateful to have served as the chair of the Research Subcommittee in 2023 where we deliberated for nearly seven months with public surveys, expert speakers, and media outreach to draw attention to some of the key issues related to lab testing, THC and potency inflation, and more. The lab recommendations were passed by the full CAB in October and we saw a response with a recent bulletin defining THC issued recently from the CCC. This was one of the recommendations our working group at the CAB came up with and it’s exciting to see action taken. I think more clarifications related to lab testing in Mass may be in the works, and look forward to following the updates in 2024.

“It was exciting to hear the November 2023 announcement that the CCC Center for Cannabis Research and Policy is under development. As someone who has spent seven years advocating for cannabis research here in Massachusetts, it’s excellent to see this next move to advance the cannabis research industry here in the Commonwealth. The CCC’s research department is the first of its kind in the nation, and supportive of open data and collaboration to advance the needed studies to continue to objectively understand medical cannabis, adult-use cannabis, policy implications, youth prevention, and more. I think that 2024 will have some great advances in this area, and potentially introduce needed funding for researchers to access.”

Devin Alexander of Rolling Releaf

“We’ll see the disbursement of the Social Equity Trust Fund. It doesn’t go far enough, but it will help. … You are going to see more interest in delivery licenses now that the licenses are being fixed. You’ll see more dispensaries partner with couriers to offer services too. We also need to get that [Social Equity exclusivity] window extended, it will help us retain market share. In August, state regulators will decide on that.”

Jordan Mackenzie Whittaker of The Weedaker Group

“We are hopeful that the cannabis equity fund will finally give qualifying operators access to capital that will support their growth and sustainability. To be poetic but to the point: water your garden, pay your bills, be good to your people, and ?arty responsibly.”

Ruben Seyde of Delivered Inc.

“2024 will be the year of Social Equity in Massachusetts. All the years of advocacy, heartache, blood, sweat, and tears have led to this year. SE companies are finally starting to gain traction and regulations are starting to become less costly (i.e. the major delivery regs revamp and social consumption). This, combined with the fact that the SE Trust Fund will finally be funded/open, giving unprecedented access to capital for SEs, will be a game changer for some SEs and EEs.”

Chris Fevry of Your Green Package

“There have been big wins for equity in Massachusetts, like establishing the Social Equity Trust Fund. Hopefully in 2024 they also pass something so we can deliver to “No” towns. … I’m hopeful the fund can give out funds, and if we’re lucky, social consumption can launch too.”

Commissioner Bruce Stebbins of the Cannabis Control Commission

“You’re going to hear a lot about social consumption in 2024.”*

Emily Luther of Luna Soul Sound Healing

“From the engagement at my events, I predict there to be a lot more involvement with wellness and more focus on women empowerment. Both have been heavily lacking in the industry.” [Emily’s next wellness event is Jan. 6 at the Summit Lounge in Worcester.]

Jimmy Young of Pro Cannabis Media

“Mass will open its first official [licensed] social [consumption] club.”

Devin Alexander of Rolling Releaf

“I don’t think we’ll see social consumption establishments in 2024.”

*Denotes forward-looking comments from CCC member excerpted from Dec. 14 Cannabis Control Commission meeting