Local social equity applicant Devin Alexander, via his company Rolling Releaf, has become the first Black-owned Delivery Operator applicant to be given a Host Community Agreement (HCA) in Massachusetts.
Alexander, posting on social media following a 5-0 vote in favor by the Middleborough Board of Selectpersons, said;
"After months of negotiations and municipal delays the town of Middleborough has just voted 5-0 unanimously to approve a Host Community Agreement for Rolling Releaf for a Marijuana Delivery Operator License. We have secured our location, conducted our Community Outreach Meeting, received our multiple letters of good standing and completed all the other necessary tasks. We are ready for a Provisional License."
The new Delivery Operator license, including a 3 year period during which only participants in the state's Social Equity or Economic Empowerment programs may seek the license, was created in the summer of 2020 following a contentious series of public hearings in front of the state's Cannabis Control Commission. At the time, equity advocates (including Alexander, who is the Vice President of the Massachusetts Cannabis Association For Delivery) fought toe to toe with some of the most well funded companies in the entire state and came out victorious, having created the new license type despite a flurry of last minute objections from those wealthy brick and mortar retail operators.
Prior to that point, the Commission had envisioned a cannabis courier license that would have limited equity companies to serving as only Uber-eats style couriers for existing brick and mortar operations.
The Delivery Operator license type, on the other hand, will allow equity delivery companies to own their own warehouse and vault, buy products from other manufacturers and cultivators, and deliver those products directly to consumers following an online sale.
Not everyone was a fan though, as the same corporate interests who attempted to stop the roll out of the new Delivery Operator license in front of the CCC then went on to file a lawsuit, in January of 2021, seeking to have both the 3 year equity period and the entire delivery operator license ruled illegal.
Before the case could even reach an initial stage, however, advocates lead a successful boycott effort and the suit was dropped (clearing the way for both the license type, and the delivery priority period, to go forward).
That lengthy process, nearly a year in the making, culminated in tonight's Host Community Agreement approval for Rolling Releaf.
Speaking to me after the decision was confirmed, Alexander said, "It has been a long and arduous road up to this point in the process. We're anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Marijuana Delivery Operator License application. Thank you to all that have supported us."
Going forward, Rolling Releaf will now enter into the State's license queue in front of the Cannabis Control Commission. Applicants hope the first stage of that process, called a "pre-certification", will be made public in the coming weeks.
Said Alexander, "[The Commission formally introducing the pre-certification process] is of the utmost importance. We have everything else in place to obtain provisional licensure."
Former Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner, and current Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence at The Ohio State Law School's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Shaleen Title, sees a bright future for equity Delivery Operators statewide;
"For three years we have watched so many businesses get ahead due to money, connections, and privilege. With the exclusivity period and other policies becoming reality, we are finally seeing so many entrepreneurs reaching milestones through grit and skill. It’s a long time coming."
"I can’t wait to order a delivery from Rolling Releaf", said Title who, during her time on the Commission, proved a crucial vote in support of both the three year equity priority period along with the creation of the Delivery Operator license format.
The CCC will meet next on April 16th at 10:00am and, if there are updates at the meeting about the Delivery Operator License, I will provide them here.