The historic Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ken Lund

Mass. House Speaker Already Eyeing Changes to Question 4

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo is already pushing to make legislative changes to Question 4 if it is approved by voters next month, according to a report by Masslive. During an interview on WCVB’s “On the Record,” the Democrat said that while he would “obviously accept the will of the voters,” the legislature should consider addressing the driving under the influence issues and raising the tax on cannabis products.

DeLeo publicly opposes Question 4 but avoided the debate when voters decriminalized cannabis in 2008 and legalized medical use in 2012.

The changes would be made “in terms of what further regulations may be necessary, what further changes would have to be made to make it work more efficiently,” DeLeo said in the interview.

As written, the measure would impose a 3.75 percent excise tax on cannabis sales in addition to the 6.25 percent state sales tax, bringing the total tax on cannabis purchases to 10 percent. Municipalities are permitted to tack on another 2 percent sales tax.

Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the legalization campaign, urges the legislature to hold off on making changes to the measure until they are able to evaluate the work of the Cannabis Control Commission that would be created under the law.

“The concerns raised by Speaker DeLeo will likely be addressed by the Cannabis Control Commission when they write these regulations, so I would suggest that the Legislature wait and see what regulations are actually written,” he said in the report. “And then if they want to address it at that point they certainly can.”

Massachusetts is one of five states voting on legalizing cannabis for recreational use in the general election.

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