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Opening Day For Recreational Marijuana Shops May Be Delayed Again

BOSTON (CBS) - Remember "Kevin," the kid in the 2016 campaign ad opposing marijuana legalization who runs into his mom outside a pot shop, much to her horror?

It looks like "Kevin" may have to wait longer to buy his edibles than we expected.

The ballot question legalizing pot set the date for sales to start on New Year's Day of this year. But in a Beacon Hill rewrite of the law approved last summer, opening day was pushed back to July 1.

And now WBZ has learned the state may not be ready by then, either.

In an interview, Steven Hoffman, head of the state commission overseeing the new law, says the process of ramping up the regulatory system could push opening day for pot shops past that widely-advertised start date.

"If we're not ready it will slide," he says. "It's more important to do this right than to do it on time, although right now we think we can do both."

We asked how readiness will be defined.

"If our technology's in place and our staff is in place and it's trained we'll be ready to go, but unless those things are in place we will not," says Hoffman. He notes the timeline for finalizing regulations and screening license applicants was always going to be tight, a main reason why the July 1 date was never a legal deadline.

And on another front, the chairman says federal threats of a crackdown on pot sales, which remain illegal under federal law, may complicate things by scaring off potential growers and sellers.

The full interview with Hoffman airs Sunday morning at 8:30am on WBZ.

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