Despite MA Residents Decision to Legalize Cannabis, The Debate Unfortunately Continues

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What is the Current Status Of Massachusetts Marijuana Laws Right Now? Isn’t Marijuana Legal in Massachusetts? When Will Pot Shops and Registered Stores Start Selling Recreational Cannabis?

In November 2016 voters in Massachusetts passed ballot question 4 which legalized marijuana. By January of 2017, Massachusetts lawmakers were writing bills to change the law. As originally written and passed, it allows citizens of MA to grow six pot plants per person or 12 plants per residence and legislatures want to change that amount. The law also put the legal age for marijuana at what it is for alcohol, 21 years old and the bills currently being discussed would change the legal age to 25.

There have already been some changes to the law. When the bill was passed licensed marijuana sales were supposed to begin on January 1st, 2018. However, Governor Charlie Baker signed an amendment changing that date to July 1st, 2018. The Governor voiced his opposition to the law even before the election, so it is no surprise that he would want to not only make changes to the law but put the implementation of the law off as long as possible. There are other parts of the law being discussed and that includes the tax rate on marijuana sales.

The committee that is writing the bill making changes to the law, the Committee on Marijuana Policy, was created earlier this year. It’s expected that the committee will be releasing its regulations later this month. People from the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition wanted to let lawmakers know that they would not accept any major changes to the law, so they rallied on the Statehouse steps on Wednesday. Many of those at the rally went inside the Statehouse to speak with lawmakers after the rally. Whereas Governor Baker has been against the legalization of Marijuana, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is in favor of it. She has stated that some changes do need to be made, for instance she said that “Safety, for example, about research, about concentration, about how to determine when someone is driving under the influence,” but she also said that “The vote was pretty clear on marijuana and I think the state legislature needs to follow the people.”

While we are getting closer to hearing exactly what changes the committee is recommending, it already appears that not all of the changes will be positive. What we already do know is that the licensed sale of marijuana was put off by six months. What the state is not looking at in this situation is not only the people who want to go into business selling marijuana being put off, but the state getting tax revenue from the sale of pot is also being put off. That sounds like a lose/lose situation. It’s important that Massachusetts lawmakers work quicker on implementing this law, it’s what the citizens of Massachusetts voted for, and the lawmakers work for us, also the tax revenue that would come in from this law would greatly help the state.

Did you vote to legalize cannabis? If so, how do you feel about this?

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