Massachusetts Secretary of State Certifies Signatures for Cannabis Legalization Initiative, Sending it to a Vote

massachusettsThe Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office has certified 70,739 signatures submitted by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, sending it to a vote of the legislature and clearing the way for the petition to be placed on the 2016 general election ballot.

“Today’s announcement confirms that the people of Massachusetts want to vote on an initiative to regulate marijuana and end the practice of punishing adults for using a substance less harmful than alcohol,” says Campaign Manager Will Luzier. “We are excited to have reached this milestone and look forward to the legislative debate over the benefits of ending prohibition and regulating and taxing marijuana.”

The petition will now be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

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 full text of the proposed initiative can be found here.

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