Massachusetts marijuana regulators are carefully scrutinizing requests by marijuana companies to change ownership.
Members of the Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday delayed voting on the proposed acquisition of the medical marijuana company Sira Naturals in order to ask for more documents. They said they are looking into establishing a more standardized process for reviewing acquisitions and potentially hiring outside help.
“We need to make sure this is a fair process for everybody going forward,” said Commissioner Britte McBride. “That means we need to create a standard. We can’t be treating one entity different than another entity.”
Sira Naturals is the first applicant to come before the commission for a change of ownership, although commissioners said there are more in the queue.
Sira Naturals runs three medical marijuana dispensaries, in Cambridge, Somerville and Needham. It has secured licenses to cultivate, manufacture and transport marijuana for the recreational market.
Cannabis Strategies Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded company in Canada, announced in October that it had an agreement to buy Sira Naturals along with three Nevada-based marijuana companies and one company that operates in Nevada and Colorado.
The Boston Globe recently ran a series of stories about marijuana companies that try to skirt limits on how many licenses a single company can hold in Massachusetts by entering management or investment agreements with the companies that run the dispensaries.
Commissioners indicated that they are taking these reports seriously.
Patrick Beyea, director of investigations at the Cannabis Control Commission, said he reviewed 100 publicly available documents filed with Canadian regulators and interviewed key people at both companies. He said he was assured that CSAC understood Massachusetts’ three-store cap and limit on total cultivation size and would abide by those rules. He was also told there were no investor contracts or management agreements.
Commissioner Shaleen Title