Recreational marijuana now legal in Massachusetts

The governor said legislators had received helpful guidance from states like Washington and Colorado, where recreational marijuana has already been legal for several years.

Jeremy Morrow | Aug 03, 2017

   

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker made recreational pot legal in his state Friday, even while expressing concerns about the legislation's impact.

"I don't support this," Baker told reporters, as reported by Masslive.com. "I worry terribly about what the consequences over time will be. But look, the people voted this. And I think it's really important that we put a program in place that delivers a workable, safe, productive recreational marijuana market for them here in Massachusetts."

The compromise bill taxes recreational marijuana at a rate of 17 to 20 percent, depending on where it's purchased. Voters originally approved a 12 percent tax. Medical marijuana will continue to be tax-free.

"The tax rate, we think, is too high," said legalization advocate Jim Borghesani, in the report. "We put it at 12 percent for the specific reason that we wanted to dampen down the illicit market to the greatest extent we could."

The new law creates a Cannabis Control Commission to regulate marijuana production and sales, and retail stores are expected to start selling the herb in July 2018. The law also lets individuals convicted of possessing small amounts of weed petition the courts to have their convictions sealed.

The new commission will be composed of five members, chosen by the governor, treasurer, and attorney general. The panel will be guided in promulgating regulations by a 25-member Cannabis Advisory Board.

The governor said legislators had received helpful guidance from states like Washington and Colorado, where recreational marijuana has already been legal for several years.

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