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Massachusetts Senate Passes New Bill Regarding Marijuana

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Bill S.2090 aims to protect public health and safety of those accessing medical and recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. The Senate chose not to repeal and replace the language of the voter-approved initiative and made amendments instead. Staying intact is the proposed 10-percent recreational marijuana tax plus 2-percent optional local tax.

The methods towns and cities must use to ban recreational marijuana establishments have also remained intact, according to Wicked Local Winchester.  The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) will be expanded to a five-member panel. A separate commission will also be established to study the effects of impaired driving and methods to detect impaired drivers.

Additional amendments include mandates for advertising, packaging and labeling standards. The CCC can adjust regulations for advertising, packaging and labeling as changes to the industry require them.

Research is also a primary agenda in Massachusetts regarding marijuana use trends and economic impact of marijuana use. Research will also study marijuana-related economic trends. The black market, and its reduction are also important topics to research. Employment trends in the industry will be studied as well as continued enforcement of crimes related to marijuana.

Public awareness campaigns are a priority as well. Increased education may lead to more responsible use and reductions in youth marijuana use.

Preferential treatment will not be given to medical marijuana establishments already in operations to give a fair chance to all businesses wanting to enter the legal marijuana industry. Industrial hemp will also be produced and sold under the control of the Department of Agriculture.

The state’s medical marijuana program will be protected. Within the next 18-months, the CCC will take over the medical marijuana program. Medical marijuana patient privacy efforts will be increased and dispensaries will be permitted to convert to not-for-profit businesses.

The final steps include the Conference Committee coming to an agreement on the differences between the two bills. With an approved compromise in place, regulations can go to the Governor for signature into law.