Lawmakers Pushing Back Against Legal Weed in Massachusetts
Despite huge successes at the ballot box in November, efforts to delay the implementation of at least one cannabis legalization measure have begun.
Massachusetts became the first state in the Northeast to legalize adult-use cannabis when 53.6% of voters approved Question 4. But now, lawmakers are taking issue with several aspects of the measure, reports the Boston Globe.
Two unnamed sources tell the paper that backroom discussions between lawmakers may lead to a delay in starting dates for both home growing and legal retail sales. While local lawmakers say that they’ll respect the will of the voters, advocates are dismayed that they’re trying to change the law.
“I don’t understand why the Legislature wouldn’t just let the regulators tackle the issues of legalization and then, with regulators’ advice, make any changes later,” Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for Question 4, told the Boston Globe.
State treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg has repeatedly pushed back against the timeline in the measure, citing the January 2018 deadline for opening dispensaries as unrealistic. But the Yes on 4 campaign points out that legalization in Colorado followed the same timeline.
Goldberg’s office is also opposed to the low 3.75% excise tax, which is intended to cut into the black market. She’s against home grow because it will reduce state revenues.
These efforts to chip away at the initiative were not unexpected. “After Nov. 8 is when the real work begins,” Question 4 campaign manager Will Luzier in an interview with VolteFace before the measure passed. “We need to protect the initiative… [With] legislation passed by the people, the legislature can change it at any time.”
Regardless of what comes of those backroom discussions, legalization advocates in Massachusetts still have their work cut out for them.
Meanwhile, in Maine, a recount is scheduled to begin Dec. 5. The legalization measure Question 2 won by just 2,620 votes.
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