Massachusetts will be stocking shelves with recreational marijuana for retail sale this July and is likely to be the main hub for marijuana consumers in the New England area. Advertising is one of the larger challenges cannabis businesses must contend with considering strict regulations, and some companies have resorted to barely permissible marijuana gifting provisions to get a head start before sales officially begin.
Other New England states have passed legislation to permit the use of recreational marijuana, though they may not have implemented rules yet, however they are not allowing retail sales. Massachusetts cannabis businesses are eager to not only sell marijuana to Massachusetts residents but also to their visiting neighbors.
Companies like HighSpeed, which describes itself as a juice delivery service, are exploiting so-called “gifting” provisions that are on the books in Massachusetts and most other states where marijuana has been legalized.
They generally allow the exchange of small amounts of the drug so long as it’s given away – “gifted” – from one adult to another. In other words, passing a joint at a party or dropping a bud in your brother’s Christmas stocking won’t result in fines or jail time.
Gifting also allows cannabis capitalists to undercut licensed shops because they don’t face the same oversight or pay marijuana sales taxes. And underground sellers could complicate things in places like Vermont, Maine and Washington, D.C., which have legalized pot but have no firm plans to open regulated retailers.
In addition to HighSpeed, a Boston-area company cleverly called Duuber has drivers delivering marijuana-themed T-shirts that come with gifts of pot.
Gifting provisions are on the books in Massachusetts and all but one of the other states that have legalized marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state, plus D.C. Most instituted the measure specifically as part of new marijuana laws.
Marijuana gifting provision may not have been intended for businesses to advertise their product, however gifting marijuana is a great addition to state rules. How willing are you to gift your marijuana?