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Is the Effort to Legalize Marijuana Picking Up Steam in Massachusetts?

Monday, September 12, 2016

 

With medical marijuana facilities now approved for Worcester, the focus and battle shifts to the November ballot question #4. 

Now, monies are starting to be directed to Massachusetts to fund the campaign to legalize. The Boston.com reports that the vast majority of the $2.7 million to support the legalization campaign derives from one donor.

“Nearly 90 percent of the legalization campaign’s money this year has come from New Approach PAC, an advocacy organization out of the nation’s capital with very wealthy backers, which contributed $2.1 million, including $2 million since August 1, writes Boston.com.

Opposing the ballot question are Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, but advocates for approval include Boston City Council member Tito Jackson.

“If anyone is serious about dealing with the opioid issues in the state of Massachusetts, then they’re on our side. If they’re serious about helping people who have addiction, and sadly, are dying, then they’re on our side,” said Jackson.

Question #4 would legalize marijuana — similar to Colorado, Oregon, Washington and others, but each state is different.

According to advocates, if voters approve:

  • Create a commission similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) to oversee a tightly controlled system of licensed retail stores, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities.
  • Require businesses to test marijuana products and adhere to strict packaging and labeling guidelines.
  • Give cities and towns the right to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments.
  • Impose a 3.75% excise tax on marijuana sales on top of the 6.25% MA sales tax, and allow cities and towns to add a local tax up to 2%.
  • Allow adults 21 years of age or older to possess and cultivate marijuana in limited amounts.
  • It will NOT allow marijuana to be used in public.
  • It will remain entirely illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and employers will be able to maintain all current employment drug use policies.
 

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