BOSTON (SHNS) – The Cannabis Control Commission will run out of money in early 2018 unless the Legislature appropriates more funding for the state’s newest regulatory agency, but its chairman is confident the money will be forthcoming.
On Nov. 2, the CCC submitted a supplemental budget request to legislative leaders and the Baker administration seeking $3.6 million in operating funds and another $3.9 million in capital funds for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, which ends June 30.
“I’m feeling very, very good about it. We’re not there yet, but based upon conversations with the Legislature and various executives, I think we’re getting very close and I’m feeling very supported by the process,” CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said Tuesday. “But we don’t have finalization yet, I hope relatively shortly.”
Officials from the House and Senate committees on Ways and Means said on Wednesday that the committees are reviewing and working on the CCC’s request.
Already, lawmakers have appropriated $2.3 million to the CCC, though most of that money remains in a Cannabis Cost Reserve account controlled by the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. The Legislature will be asked to approve an additional $5.2 million to give the CCC a total fiscal 2018 budget of $7.5 million.
Legislators included $2 million for the Cannabis Cost Reserve in the fiscal year 2018 budget, and the Office of Administration and Finance transferred $500,000 from the Cannabis Costs Reserve to the CCC in September to support initial start-up costs for the commission, which is in the process of hiring staff and moving to leased temporary office space.
Asked Tuesday whether there is a date at which the CCC will run out of money, Hoffman said there is but that it is not an immediate worry.
“We’ve got a while before that,” he said. “It’s not until sometime in the early part of calendar 2018 and this is going to be resolved, in my opinion, way before that. I’m feeling very confident.”
The chairman said he expects a resolution on the CCC’s budget request “relatively soon and certainly long before” the agency runs out of money. Hoffman would only say that the date at which the CCC will have depleted its funds is sometime in the first quarter of 2018.
Among the budget line items the CCC requested funding for are $534,167 for the five commissioner salaries, $470,834 for senior agency staff, $665,300 for license application processing and enforcement, and $283,750 for community outreach.
The CCC’s funding request could be handled by the Legislature during informal sessions, though it could be blocked if just one member objects. Formal sessions will resume in January 2018. In both 2016 and 2017, Gov. Charlie Baker has filed a supplemental budget request in early February.
The CCC will soon have to embark on a more complete budgeting exercise as it submits its budget request to the administration for all 12 months of fiscal year 2019, which will begin July 1, 2018. Baker will file his fiscal 2019 budget proposal in January.