Cannabis regulators want big budget increase

Members of the Cannabis Control Commission voted to approve the fiscal year 2024 budget request of more than $23.7 million, including 26 new hires and $1.5 million to fund public awareness campaigns called for in this summer’s cannabis industry reform law.

Fiscal 2024 does not start until July 1, 2023, but state departments and agencies have to get their budget wish lists in with enough time for the executive branch to consider them before it kicks off the budget process early next year. Because of the transition to a new governor, Gov.-elect Maura Healey’s first budget will be due to the Legislature by March 1.

The CCC’s budget request, as approved unanimously, seeks $18.5 million for the main agency operations line item, $3.7 million for the medical cannabis program, and $1.5 million for public education campaigns. That would represent an increase of $4.5 million or 23.4 percent over the CCC’s fiscal year 2023 budget award. Agency officials said some of the increase is meant to help the CCC implement the state’s new cannabis equity law.

“The general focus was on implementation of revised statute and regulations as well as enhanced support structures in response to these regulatory changes to make sure that we’re keeping up with our capacity to meet these requirements,” chief financial and accounting officer Adriana Leon said.

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