Massachusetts' marijuana industry regulator would like to make its licensing process quicker, with its head officially stating this goal on Monday. In a budget hearing with the state legislature's Joint Ways and Means Committee, Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, said he wants to reduce the waiting time for awarding a license by 50%.
At present, the average waiting period is 121 days for the initial review phase of licensing applications. According to the commission, if its budget were increased it could hire enough additional staff to reduce that time sufficiently to meet the stated goal in fiscal 2021.
For fiscal 2020, the commission has been granted an operations budget of roughly $9.6 billion. An increase of 29%, or $2.8 billion, would suffice to hire as many as 34 full-time employee-equivalent officials to speed up the licensing process.
All told, the commission has requested $16.3 billion for its 2021 funding. In addition to operations, these monies would be spent on expenses for the state's medical marijuana program and a consumer awareness advertising campaign.
Mass Live reported Hoffman as telling the committee that "if we can increase the number of licensing personnel we have, we can increase the number of licenses and we can increase the amount of tax revenue that we generate, so I believe it is a good investment."
The increase in funding and resulting chop in license wait time would help the business of local marijuana companies like Curaleaf (CURLF 0.51%). Based in eastern Massachusetts, the company already has four dispensaries open in its home state. The fact that Curaleaf's count is so low on its native territory is indicative of the slowness of the licensing procedure.
Curaleaf's stock price dropped by nearly 6% on Tuesday.