Picture of Boston, Massachusetts across a water channel.

Tim Sackton

Massachusetts Court Approves Legalization Ballot Initiative

Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court unanimously approved the ballot question to legalize cannabis in the state, but did force the title to be changed from “Marijuana Legalization” to “Legalization, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana,” the Associated Press reports.

The justices said the submitted title was “clearly misleading” and also ordered changes to the wording of the “yes” statement, but found no other issues that would have forced the measure to be disqualified.

The case hinged on whether or not the proposal had mislead ballot signees by not informing them that retail edibles would be allowed under the measure. The “yes” statement will now include language making it clear to voters that concentrates and edibles would be available under the law, if enacted.

Supporters submitted more than 25,000 certified signatures to the Secretary of State, exceeding the 10,792 required for the question to appear on November ballots.

“Massachusetts voters will have their voices heard in November,” Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said in the report. “Our initiative, we think, puts forth a very commonsense alternative to the failed prohibition system that exists today.”

The plan would set up recreational cannabis infrastructure, imposing a 3.75 percent excise tax on retail sales in addition to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. People 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh have publicly opposed marijuana legalization, but welcomed the court’s decision to include the language clarifying that edibles would be permitted under the plan.

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