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Mass. OKs cannabis supply shift to cover demand surge for medical marijuana

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BOSTON — With recreational marijuana shops closed until at least May and the number of people seeking medical marijuana cards surging, the Cannabis Control Commission on Tuesday told certain nonmedical growers that they can now transfer their crops to the medical supply chain.

From March 23 through April 1, the CCC received more than 1,300 new medical marijuana patient registrations, compared to about 500 in the 10 previous days.

Though only the medical side of the industry is currently allowed to operate, the CCC said that 66 percent of the finished marijuana flower, 40 percent of marijuana concentrate products, and 63 percent of marijuana-infused products currently in its tracking system are earmarked for the adult-use industry.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting strain on the medical supply chain constitutes a documented emergency ... and permitting the transfer of existing, finished adult-use marijuana and marijuana products, upon attestation of supply need by a [colocated marijuana operation] and/or [medical marijuana treatment center] is necessary to avoid harmful disruptions to the medical marijuana supply chain," the CCC wrote in a revised cease and desist order.

The new order lays out the criteria and requirements of such a transfer. It also included a new requirement that licensees notify the commission of any work-related illnesses resulting in a confirmed COVID-19 case among employees.

The CCC on Tuesday also announced a process for industry employees "who believe they are working under unsafe conditions or are not essential and being told to come into work" to report that to regulators. Anyone in such a position can file a complaint by emailing Commission@cccmass.com with the subject line "COVID-19 Agent Complaint."

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