A initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in Massachusetts was filed this morning with the office of state Attorney General Maura Healy. The measure was filed by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
“Next year, voters will have the opportunity to end the failed policy of prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” says campaign director Will Luzier, a former assistant attorney general of Massachusetts. “Marijuana is significantly less harmful than alcohol, and our laws should reflect that.”
In summary, the proposed initiative would:
· allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow a limited number of cannabis plants in their homes;
· create a regulated system of licensed cannabis retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission; and
· create a 3.75% state excise tax on retail cannabis sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2%. [Medical cannabis will NOT be subject to these additional taxes.]
Following the attorney general’s review, proponents of the initiative must collect the signatures from 64,750 Massachusetts voters over a nine-week period from September to November to place it before Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature fails to adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.