Massachusetts May Require Marijuana Delivery Drivers To Wear Body Cams

Massachusetts May Require Marijuana Delivery Drivers To Wear Body Cams

Should marijuana delivery drivers be required to wear a body camera?

As the Cannabis Control Commission prepares to consider new regulations to govern the state’s cannabis industry, body cameras are emerging as a key point in the debate over licensing delivery-only companies.

Until now, the commission has been granting licenses to traditional retail stores, growers and manufacturers. The new rules will establish a licensing process for the first time for delivery-only companies and marijuana cafes.

The draft regulations would require marijuana delivery drivers who work for companies in the recreational market to wear body cameras and record all deliveries. Customers would be notified of the video cameras. Video would be retained for 90 days and could be used in investigations by the police or state regulators.

At a meeting Tuesday, the Cannabis Advisory Board, a group of experts formed to advise the Cannabis Control Commission, voted 9-5 with two abstentions to recommend that the commission to eliminate the body camera requirement.

“We’re treating cannabis so differently than we’re treating alcohol,” said Shanel Lindsay, an attorney who started a marijuana-related business. “Body cameras seem to really be going above and beyond and treating this in a more restrictive way that leads to more costs for people to run a business.”

Lindsay stated that body cameras are not used by drivers who deliver alcohol.

Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding said body cameras are a way to ensure a driver is not leaving a package just at a front door or with an underaged person. “Especially in the infancy of the industry, we need to build faith and trust,” Harding said.

Harding said the state already tracks marijuana from seed to sale. “This is an opportunity where this process could break down,” he said of deliveries.

Matt Allen, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said spot checks could be used to check on drivers rather than body cameras, which he said raise concerns about privacy and access to data. He worried that federal law enforcement or immigration officials, for example, could access the videos. “In a golden age of surveillance, we have technologies proliferating much faster than policies that regulate them,” he said.

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