Massachusetts: Enough Signatures Collected on Legalization Initiative to Put it to a Vote

bud2The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, announced today it has collected more than 100,000 signatures in support of a ballot initiative to end cannabis prohibition in Massachusetts, well more than the 64,750 required to put the measure to a vote.

Now the signatures must be reviewed and certified by town and city clerks before being submitted to the secretary of the commonwealth by December 2. If enough of the signatures are valid (from registered Massachusetts voters) the issue will go before the state’s legislature. If the legislature decides not to pass the proposal into law, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 general election ballot.

“Massachusetts voters want the opportunity to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in 2016,” said campaign manager Will Luzier. “This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly regulated system of licensed businesses that pay taxes and create good jobs.

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 tightly 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 Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission;
  • provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of cannabis establishments in their city or town; 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.]

The proposal is one of two competing marijuana legalization campaigns currently underway in Massachusetts.  The other is a grassroots effort led by Bay State Repeal.

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