Massachusetts is known for being considerably lenient on cannabis, at least compared to the majority of the country. In 2009 voters approved a measure decriminalizing cannabis possession, making it just a small fine, and just last year, residents voted to approve cannabis as a legal medicine in the state.
The bill has yet to receive a committee hearing, but it’s not too late. However, constituents should feel hurried to contact their legislators, and members of the committee, asking them to support this measure (you can look up your districts legislators here).
Polling from 2011 shows that 58% in the state support legalizing and taxing cannabis.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what this measure would do:
- Establishes the Cannabis Control Authority, which would consist of a 7 member board of directors. The board would oversee the regulations for the would-be legal cannabis retail outlets. The members will be appointed by the governor, speaker of the house and president of the senate.
- Legalizes the possession of cannabis for personal use.
- Legalizes the licensed cultivation of cannabis to be sold through licensed retail outlets.
- Sets a tax rate that taxes cannabis at $10 per 1% THC content per ounce (we admit it’s odd). For example; an ounce of cannabis that contains 10% THC (not very potent bud), would be taxed at $100 an ounce.
- Directs the Cannabis Control Authority to have regulations established within 90 days of being appointed.
- Directs the Authority to conduct a continuous, public study that will be used to help revise the law appropriately.
The measure isn’t perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction. Reform advocates, and state constituents, should be actively supporting it.