CCC chief makes a case for buying marijuana from retailers

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The chair of the Cannabis Control Commission made the case Sunday for marijuana users to get their stash at one of the legal retail outlets expected to open next month, even if the legal marketplace is slow to take shape.

Appearing on WBZ-TV with Jon Keller on Sunday, CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman reiterated that while he expects legal marijuana sales to begin on or around July 1 the legal retail shop landscape will be "sparse" at the outset.

"People obviously are really looking forward to this," Hoffman said. "I expect there will be a fair level of interest in the stores that are open."

Keller asked Hoffman if he is concerned that long lines at a limited number of legal stores and the 20 percent tax on legal marijuana might make marijuana users instead decide to continue buying from their black market sources. Marijuana users can also grow their own plants and give small amounts away to other adults for free.

"If you go to a regulated store, you're going to know exactly what you're getting in terms of potency, you're going to have guarantees that there are no pesticides or other metals or other chemicals," Hoffman said. "So I think there are some benefits ... that will cause people, even if there are only a few stores open, to use the regulated, legal market until it matures."

The CCC is scheduled to meet Tuesday, but it is not expected to begin deliberating on the 38 business license applications that it has already received. June 1 was the first date the CCC could legally issue licenses and Hoffman said he hopes people will be patient as legal pot sales get underway.

"I just want to remind everybody that July 1 is not a legislative mandate. It's an expectation. We're working very hard to it," Hoffman said Sunday. "It might by July 1. It might be a week after. But it's going to happen. It's going to happen shortly around that time frame."

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