Massachusetts: Lawmakers Advance Legislation Creating ‘Social Equity Trust Fund,’ Facilitating Licensing of On-Site Consumption Lounges

Boston, MA: House and Senate lawmakers have advanced legislation (S. 3096) which seeks to promote greater diversity among those participating in the state’s licensed cannabis industry and that lays the groundwork for the establishment of on-site cannabis consumption facilities.

Specifically, the measure creates a “Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund to encourage the full participation … of entrepreneurs from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.” Money in the fund “shall be used to make grants and loans, including no-interest loans and forgivable loans, to social equity program participants and economic empowerment priority applicants.”

In addition, the bill provides guidance for the eventual licensing of on-site adult-use consumption facilities. It also calls on state officials to conduct a study and to make recommendations “to ensure that students have access to [the] medical use of marijuana” while they attend school.

To date, only a handful of states – including Alaska and Nevada – have allowances for social consumption facilities. By contrast, many states now provide allowances for qualified students to access cannabis products while on school grounds. 

The bill now awaits action from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who reportedly favors the bill and is expected to sign it into law. 

Additional information on statewide reform legislation is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center.’