Suzanne Potter – Commonwealth News Service 

BOSTON — Massachusetts residents may soon be able to get recreational marijuana delivered to their doorsteps. On Monday, the state Cannabis Control Commission approved changes to adult-use laws that will allow for two new kinds of licenses to deliver marijuana.

Grant Smith Ellis, press secretary for the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, said the licenses will be available in two weeks in about 160 towns, including Boston.

“These adult-use deliveries can only occur in towns that already allow adult-use retail sales or that specifically opt into delivery,” Smith Ellis said. “And these adult-use deliveries cannot occur in towns with an adult-use ban.”

Before this development, only marijuana for medical use could be delivered to homes. But across the state, about 140 towns have bans in place and another 60 have a temporary moratorium. Most that allow marijuana sales restrict it to industrial zones, so no one would be allowed to operate a delivery service out of their home.

The license program is designed to encourage small businesses in the communities hardest hit by the drug war. For the next three years, first priority for the licenses will go to people who are “equity applicants.” This favors prospective applicants who either live in a drug-ravaged community or who’ve been incarcerated for certain drug offenses in the past.

Smith Ellis noted this gives people who once sold drugs on the street a chance to turn their lives around.

“In some ways, it goes to make up for the years of persecution that individuals suffered for participating in that exact same market – in oftentimes those exact same ways – but without the regulatory oversight or the taxes,” he said.

In related news, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on the MORE Act, a bill that would effectively legalize marijuana at the federal level by taking it off the list of controlled substances.