13 December 2016
Mass legislators say they have no intention of postponing the official date of legalized cannabis in the state..
Beacon Hill leaders said Monday they won’t change the effective date of Dec. 15 for the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts.
State Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, said in a joint statement that they won’t make changes to that part of the new law, which allows possession, use and home growing by adults over the age of 21.
“The voters spoke in favor of legalized recreational marijuana on November 8th and we fully intend to respect the will of the voters,” Rosenberg and DeLeo said.
“While we analyze the provisions of the new law and its implementation we will not be passing legislation that changes the December 15th effective date for possession, use, and home growing,” they said.
Starting on Dec. 15, people at least 21 years old can possess up to ten ounces of marijuana inside their residence and up to one ounce outside. Smoking is prohibited in the same places tobacco is banned.
Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana for recreational use. Legalization advocates call it a tipping point for the industry and the movement. What does legal pot mean for the Bay State and what happens next?
One person can grow up to six plants inside their home, and a household can have up to 12 plants.
People can also gift up to an ounce or less of marijuana.
Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
Beacon Hill leaders, who largely opposed legalization, have repeatedly expressed interest in making changes to the new law, which also calls for the creation of a Cannabis Control Commission as part of a regulatory structure to oversee and tax retail pot shops.
Lawmakers say the implementation of the new law requires more money than the law provides for and have floated a higher tax on marijuana. Advocates argue a low tax is necessary to drive down the black market, one of the key aims of the new law.
Lawmakers have also said they might seek to push back dates for when retail pot shops would open. Under the new law, the shops would open in 2018.
Rosenberg was one of the few top lawmakers who said he would vote for legalization in November.
Making changes in December is more difficult: Lawmakers are meeting on Beacon Hill in “informal session,” meaning one legislator can object and stop a bill.