Lawmakers Delay Key Provisions Of New Massachusetts Pot Law

During an informal session of the state's congress Wednesday, legislators moved to push the opening of commercial marijuana stores from January 2018 into July 2018.

"I think we already have most of that work done", state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who an opponent of the ballot question, said on December 14, the day before home use was legalized. Marijuana possession, home cultivation and use in private areas is now legal in the state, despite the delay of the commercial market.

"For example, most of us who've looked at this don't have a clue whether there's enough money from that tax rate to actually pay for setting up the agency, for doing the licensing, for doing the enforcement and there also have to be considerations for public safety and for public health", Rosenberg said.

"Luckily, we are in a position where we can learn from the experiences of other states to implement the most responsible recreational marijuana law in the country", he said.

"TWO LAWMAKERS subverted the votes of millions?"

Proponents of Question 4, the ballot initative that legalized recreational marijuana, said they were disappointed by the Legislature's decision to alter the law.

Luzier said he believes the delay will likely be a hardship for those in the burgeoning marijuana industry. "After more than a century of this failed policy, it is time to bring prohibition to an end in MA". But lawmakers wanted cannabis consumers to get used to buying marijuana legally and pushed through legislation that allowed early limited retail sales of marijuana at the state's existing medical marijuana dispensaries, which began in October 2015.

Activists charge that it undermines democracy to alter a law approved by popular vote and note Colorado implemented a regulatory framework for commercial marijuana sale within the same 12-month period called for by the MA ballot.

The authors of the voter-approved marijuana law say any tinkering with it by the legislature flies in the face of democracy.

"We're going to review the whole bill and we're going to determine which parts need to be changed", Rosenberg said.