Changes were recently made to Massachusetts recreational marijuana bill which was voted into law last November through a ballot initiative that was years in the making. WBUR shared some key points that those interested in keeping marijuana safe and legal in the state should know.
1 – The law calls for marijuana to have a maximum tax rate of 20 percent, up from a maximum 12 percent rate outlined in the voter-passed ballot question. While this is more than the ballot initiative outlined it is in line with other states that are selling marijuana for recreational use.
2 – The Cannabis Control Commission was originally outlined as a three-person panel, with its members all appointed by the state treasurer. Now, it’s five members, and the governor and the attorney general have appointment authority as well. The three officials have to select these five commissioners by Sept. 1st.
3 – The compromise bill makes no changes to the existing law governing the home cultivation of cannabis plants for personal use. Every adult over 21 can grow up to six plants in their home, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.
4 – Although marijuana has been legal for adults in Massachusetts since December, there are no retail establishments selling recreational pot. That changes July 1, 2018, when shops can open.
5 – Perhaps the most controversial change is changes to the process by which a city or town in Massachusetts can ban forthcoming retail marijuana shops. The original law said the decision rested with an individual community’s voters, but this bill says if your municipality voted for marijuana on November’s ballot measure, a question of banning or limiting pot businesses has to be put to a voter referendum. If your town or city voted against marijuana, then the decision rests with the local governing authority, like a city council or board of selectmen.
For the record more than 60% of voters in Boston and approximately 70% of voters in Cambridge and Somerville voted to legalize marijuana so this issue hopefully won’t be held up by our Mayor or selectmen.
You can read the WBUR article in full here.