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Nicolas Raymond

Flurry of Cannabis-Related Proposals Introduced in Massachusetts

There are at least 30 bills relating to cannabis in the Massachusetts legislature – some expanding the scope of November’s voter-approved initiative, while others would greatly limit it, according to a Wicked Local report.

Democratic State Sen. Jason Lewis is leading the charge against the regime, filing several bills ranging from reducing the personal possession and home-growing limits to curtailing advertising.

The Lewis-sponsored SD.1826 would reduce the number of flowering plants per person from six to three, and from 12 per household to six; while reducing the 10-ounce in-home personal possession limit to 2 ounces. The bill would also allow local governments to ban home-growing altogether. SD.1823 would require that cannabis businesses only advertise to customers who explicitly opt-in, requires cannabis product labels to carry a public health warning akin to tobacco, and prohibits coupons, free samples, discounts, distribution of branded merchandise and “other promotional activities.” SD.1843 also aims at creating onerous marketing and packaging regulations, establishing rules that would see all packaging “opaque,” “colored grey,” “devoid of cartoon characters or bright colors” and child-resistant.

Another proposal, SD.1833, would direct the state Department of Health Commissioner to “investigate the effects of marijuana and marijuana products with high [THC] potency” and make a recommendation whether to limit the potency of cannabis products sold in the state. In another agency directive, SD.1838, the secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and Energy Resources commissioner would make recommendations for energy and water use efficiency for licensed cultivators. SD.1820 gives municipalities more local control but bars any town or city from outlawing cannabis transportation.

Another bill, SD.1821, would allow retailers to only sell flower for the first two years while the Cannabis Control Commission determined what other products will be permitted in the adult-use market. However, another measure, SD.1836, which would allow for people convicted for possession up to 1 ounce to petition for an expungement of that charge, was also among Lewis’ legislative blitzkrieg on the state’s new cannabis law.

Lewis’ fellow Democrat state Sen. Cynthia Creem introduced legislation, SD.500, which would eliminate mandatory minimum drug sentences, capping Class A felony drug punishments at “10 years in a jail or house of correction for not more than two-and-a-half years” for the first offence, and 15 years in state prison for a second, with fines not to exceed $10,000 and $25,000 respectively. Those times and fines would be reduced as the class and weight of the drug is reduced.

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