What Is a Marijuana Delivery License in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, a marijuana delivery license is a license granted to an individual or entity who is classified as a marijuana courier or marijuana delivery operator, and is authorized to deliver marijuana and marijuana products directly to consumers, and, as permitted, marijuana couriers to patients and caregivers.
A marijuana courier is a business that has been licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to deliver medical and adult-use marijuana and marijuana products from affiliated retailers and Marijuana Treatment Centers directly to consumers and patients at their homes in municipalities that permit residential deliveries. This license does not authorize the courier to establish a retail location for the public.
A delivery operator refers to an entity licensed to buy marijuana and marijuana products at wholesale from licensed cultivators and manufacturers in order to sell and deliver these directly to consumers. A delivery operator cannot repackage marijuana or marijuana products or operate a storefront under the delivery license.
Per Section 4(b)(1) of M.G.L. c 94G4), the licensed delivery operator license allows for limited delivery of marijuana and marijuana products to consumers but must not be considered to confer the same rights afforded to a marijuana retailer under 935 CMR 500.002 or 500.050 and is subject to 935 CMR 500.050(1)(b).
Does Massachusetts Require Marijuana Delivery Establishments to Obtain Delivery Licenses?
Yes. Pursuant to 935 CMR 500.105(4), a delivery license or delivery endorsement is a prerequisite for delivering marijuana and marijuana products directly to consumers, and as permitted, marijuana couriers, to patients, or caregivers. A delivery endorsement means an authorization issued to licensees in categories of marijuana establishments identified by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to perform deliveries directly from the establishment to consumers. A delivery endorsement permits existing marijuana businesses or operators to make deliveries.
Before starting operations, delivery licensees must comply with all operational requirements imposed by:
- 935 CMR 500.105;
- 935 CMR 500.110 as applicable, including 935 CMR 500.110(8); and
- 935 CMR 500.145
How to Get a Marijuana Delivery License in Massachusetts
To obtain a marijuana delivery license in Massachusetts, an applicant is required to visit the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry Portal to initiate the process by completing the three sections of the license application form. These sections are:
- Application of Intent (AOI)
- Background Check
- Management and Operations Profile
The applicant must submit accurate information about the marijuana delivery operations, persons, and entities related to the establishment and prove knowledge of the applicable rules to delivery operations, locations, and sizes. The following information and documentation are required when completing each stage of the application:
APPLICATION OF INTENT
- Required Individuals and Entities: The applicant must name persons or organizations with direct or indirect control over the cannabis delivery business. One or more of the following conditions must be fulfilled by such persons:
- An owner who has a financial stake in the marijuana delivery business in the form of equity of 10% or more.
- A person or organization with a voting stake of 10% or more in the marijuana delivery establishment or the ability to veto important occurrences.
- An associate
- A person or entity that has the right to control, through contract or otherwise, or authority, including but not limited to:
- making decisions about operations and strategic planning, capital allocations, acquisitions, and divestments
- appointing more than half of the directors
- appointing or removing corporate-level officials;
- making major production, marketing, and financial decisions
- executing significant or exclusive contracts
- earning more than 10% of the dividends or at least 10% of the profits
- a court appointee
- a third-party technology provider with a financial interest in a delivery licensee
- Disclosure of In-State Interests: Applicants must declare whether any of the individuals mentioned earlier or organizations have previously applied for a Marijuana Establishment (ME) or Marijuana Treatment Center (MTC) license or are affiliated with another current license. \
The disclosure should include all current and accurate facts. This information should not be deceptive, misleading, false, or fraudulent in any way.
- Disclosure of Out-of-State Interests: Applicants must show proof of any marijuana-related business interests held or held in other states. They should use discretion in determining whether they have any additional commercial interests relevant to their applications. An affidavit attesting to the disclosure's authenticity and sincerity may be required, such as bylaws, articles of organization, and operating agreement.
- Capital Resources: An applicant must declare the amounts and funding sources available from each person or organization contributing capital to the establishment's formation or operation. The capital may be in the form of loans or equity holdings. \
The applicant must also provide evidence of capital, such as a financial institution record dated within 60 days of the application submission. A formal loan agreement is required whenever a person or organization provides money in exchange for a loan. \
If the person or entity providing capital is also a direct or indirect control person or organization, they must be identified. On top of that, the applicant must verify that any money used to invest in or finance the business was legally earned or acquired through an affidavit or notarized document.
- Bond or Escrow: A bond or escrow account is required for all applicants to finance the dismantling and winding down of the marijuana delivery business. The money set aside must be enough to pay any unpaid state or local sales taxes, secure the licensee's premises, and destroy the licensee's marijuana and marijuana products inventory.
- Property Identification and Interest Documentation: Each applicant must indicate their planned marijuana delivery business site. After identifying the proposed location(s), the applicant must submit evidence of property interest, which may include:
- a clear legal title to the proposed site
- a legally binding agreement authorizing the transfer of such title
- an option to purchase the site
- documentation from the owner as evidence permitting the use of the premises
- Host Community Agreement Certification: There is a one-page certification needed from the contracting authority of the host community and the applicant. Each location must have its own certification form that meets the above criteria. The Commission's website has additional information on Host Community Agreements.
- Community Outreach Meeting Attestation and Documentation: The Community Outreach Meeting aims to inform and educate the local community about the proposed institution. The Community Outreach Meeting is strongly advised since it will assist in developing and influence the Host Community Agreement. Each applicant must have a Community Outreach Meeting that meets the guidelines of the Cannabis Control Commission.
- Plan to Remain Compliant with Local Ordinances: Each applicant must outline their plans to ensure that the marijuana delivery business complies with all municipal regulations, ordinances, and bylaws, including those governing the sale of adult-use marijuana or medicinal marijuana. In addition, applicants must provide the following information in their proposal:
- Identification of the prospective address's zoning district
- Identification of any necessary permits and Identification of the time and frequency of the renewals of the permits.
- Plan to Positively Impact Disproportionately Harmed People: An applicant must submit this Plan, which must be intended to favorably affect the CCC-identified categories of disproportionately impacted people:
- Applicants seeking marijuana courier or marijuana delivery operator licensing must provide the following information in the Application of Intent portion of their application:
- Disclosure and documentation of any delivery arrangement between the applicant and a marijuana retailer; and
- Disclosure and documentation of any agreement between the applicant and a third-party technology platform provider.
Applicants may not yet have delivery arrangements with marijuana retailers or agreements with third-party platform providers when applying for a marijuana delivery license. If applicants do not have these agreements at the time of application, they are not required to submit this information. Note, however, that such applicants and licensees must inform the Commission of any agreements within five (5) business days after their signing.
Additionally, marijuana delivery operator license applicants must include a detailed plan for White Labeling, if appropriate, including, at a minimum, the picture or logo to be utilized as part of the label and whether the applicant or the marijuana establishment will be the one to apply the label.
BACKGROUND CHECK SECTION
In this section, the applicant must list all relevant individuals and organizations and any background disclosures and authorization papers. Every individual or organization listed in the AOI section must also be included in the Background Check section. Individuals and organizations will be fingerprinted, and individuals will be subjected to a comprehensive background check.
- Background Check Information: The Commission is required to judge the appropriateness of each individual and organization named on a license application, which is based in part on the findings of background checks. Background checks will include, but will not be limited to, the following:
- Records from Massachusetts and national crime databases
- Civil database records for Massachusetts and the United States, including professional and occupational records
- Other marijuana-related enterprises in which the person or organization is involved
- Any action taken against the person or entity's license or registration
- Each individual and entity listed on the application must disclose any actions against them in Massachusetts or another state. Applicants are not required to reveal any convictions that have been sealed or expunged due to a court order.
- Background Authorization Forms: All persons engaged in an application must undergo a background check. The Commission's third-party partner performs background checks. For the partner to acquire the necessary information, the applicant must submit three authorization documents and an unexpired government-issued photo identity card for each individual named on the application. The CORI Acknowledgement Form, the Disclosure and Acknowledgement Form, and the Release Authorization Form are included in this package.
MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS PROFILE
This section provides the Commission with an overview of the applicants' plan for operating the marijuana delivery establishment. The information required in this section helps demonstrate that the applicant understands the legal requirements for doing business, including the Commission's rules, and that the applicant has plans that are unique to the license type, location, and size of the company, and that the applicant will be allowed to operate legally.
- Business Information, Articles of Organization, and Bylaws: The applicant must prove that the business is registered to conduct business in the state. Examples of acceptable proofs include:
- Business name
- Articles of Organization
- Massachusetts Business Identification number
- Certificates of Good Standing: All applicants must show good standing certificates from the Massachusetts State Secretary, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Unemployment Assistance. All certificates must be dated within 90 days of the day the license application was submitted. \
Note that in order to register with the Department of Unemployment Assistance and receive a certificate of good standing, the applicant must have employees. If an applicant does not have any employees, an attestation to that effect will be accepted in lieu of a certification of good standing from the Department of Unemployment Assistance.
- Business Plan, Liability Insurance Plan, & Proposed Timeline: All applications must include insurance policies, estimated time frames for achieving operations, and a detailed business plan for the running of the establishment. The Plan may contain revenue and cost projections, a company overview, and an operating strategy. \
Although insurance policies are not required until licensing, applicants must demonstrate in their plans that they will acquire policies covering general liability and product liability for at least $1 million per occurrence and $2 million in aggregate annually once licensed. The deductible for each insurance should not exceed $5,000 per occurrence.
- Summary of Operating Plans, Policies, and Procedures: The applicant must provide plans, policies, and procedures for the marijuana establishment's operation. These documents must be written in accordance with the CCC's rules and guidance materials. Among these documents are:
- Security Plan
- Prevention of Diversion Plan
- Storage Plan
- Transportation Plan
- Inventory Plan
- Quality Control and Testing Procedures
- Personnel Policies
- Recordkeeping Procedures
- Maintenance of Financial Records
- Detailed Description of Qualifications and Intended Training for Agents
- Energy Compliance Plan
- Diversity Plan: Applicants for a marijuana delivery license must submit a Diversity Plan as part of their Management and Operations Profile. Diversity plans must be developed to promote equity in the operation of the establishment for people of color, including Black, African American, Hispanic, Latinx, and Indigenous people and women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people. This Plan is different from the Plan to Positively Impact Disproportionately Harmed People. \
This Plan must include the objectives, programs, and metrics that the marijuana establishment will follow after being temporarily licensed. All objectives must be tangible and measurable.
- Marijuana delivery operator and marijuana courier license applicants must provide in the Management and Operations Profile section, a comprehensive description of their delivery plan and processes in accordance with 935 CMR 500.145 and 935 CMR 500.146, respectively.
- When the Commission receives a license application, it carefully reviews it to ensure compliance with the Commission's rules. If any part of the application is determined to violate the Commission's rules, the applicant will get a request for further information, or RFI (Request for Information). An RFI notification will contain a short narrative explaining any identified defects or non-compliance issues.
- After correcting any errors and non-compliance problems and uploading all necessary papers and information, the applicant may resubmit the license application or relevant part. The Commission will undertake an urgent review of the new material. If the application is found to comply with the Commission's regulations at this stage, it will be deemed complete; if not, a second RFI notice will be sent after a supplemental assessment.
- When an application is fully submitted, it is queued for review depending on the date and time of submission and whether the application is priority, expedited, or general. When the CCC decides that the application is complete, it will notify the applicant. The notice will include the following information:
- Payment instructions for background checks to be performed
- Fingerprint instructions for all required individuals
- Notification that the application, to the extent permitted by law, has been sent to the municipality (in which the delivery establishment will be located) requesting a response concerning the marijuana establishment’s compliance with local ordinances or bylaws within 60 days
- Notification that the CCC will consider the application for a provisional license within 90 days.
- A provisional license will be approved if the applicant and the appropriate authorities submit the necessary information. Download and review the Cannabis Control Commission's Adult-Use of Marijuana Regulations for additional information on marijuana delivery establishment licensing or contact the CCC at (774) 415-0200 or Commission@CCCMass.com.
How Much Does a Marijuana Delivery License Cost in Massachusetts?
The application fee for a marijuana courier license in Massachusetts is $1,500, the same for a marijuana delivery operator license application. The license fee and the annual renewal fee for a marijuana courier license are $5,000, while a marijuana delivery operator license costs $10,000 and may be renewed at the same fee.
Can Delivery Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Massachusetts?
According to the Cannabis Control Commission's Guide to Licensing, licensed marijuana courier or delivery operator businesses are restricted to those controlled by and with majority ownership by Social Equity Program Participants and Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants for a period of 36 months from the date the first marijuana delivery operator receives a notice to start operations. No person or entity having direct or indirect control in a marijuana delivery establishment will be granted more than two types of delivery licenses.