Back in November of 2016, Massachusetts voters ultimately voiced their opinion and voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana. Supporters of such legalization have argued that the new law would take marijuana out of the ‘black market’ and would be subjected to applicable tax; marijuana would produce tax dollars for the state and would employ hundreds of local citizens. However, as recreational marijuana is a complex and hot topic circulating around Massachusetts, the Senate has declared that the law itself needs to be clarified and refined. Ultimately, this means changes, and supporters of its legalization are not on board with this.
Fox 25 news reported that Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, on addressing the voters who voiced their support for the legalization, mentioned that advocates should been prepared for such changes to happen. As of now, there is a 6-month delay for anyone attempting to open recreational marijuana stores for consumers. However, the legislature has been pondering many other changes, including but not limited to raising the legal age from 21 for possession, purchase and use, an increase on the marijuana tax rate, as well as lowering the amount of plants that can be grown in any given household.
In relation to the push for an increased tax rate, legislators argue that the current proposed law is simply too low and will more than likely not be enough to even cover regulatory costs. As of right now the maximum (and total) tax rate proposed is 12%. Other states where legalized recreational marijuana has made waves has tax rates as high as 37% (Washington) and 29% (Colorado). The hesitancy to allow home growers to have up 12 plants produces fear for the legislature, as they believe the more plants a person is able to grow, the more likely they will sell their products to consumers illegally.
Voters and advocates of such legalization have voiced their opinion, mentioning that it goes against Massachusetts’s voters’ rights and that it simply diminishes the power of democracy. However, as none of these changes have actually taken effect, many wonder if the changes will be a blanket approach or merely small changes that will have little effect on the passed law.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is still criminalized even with the passage of the new law. There is litigation surrounding how these cases can be proven in court. If you were arrested for OUI marijuana, it is important to hire a lawyer to understand your defenses to these cases. Attorney DelSignore is very active in representing those charged with OUI drugs and alcohol and can explain the most recent defenses to these cases.
Mass live has an article about pending charges to the OUI marijuana laws as well that is well worth reading.