The Massachusetts capitol building in Boston.

Ken Lund

Massachusetts Lawmakers Quietly Pass Bill Delaying Adult-Use Market Rollout

During an informal legislative session lawmakers in Massachusetts have approved a bill that will likely delay the opening of retail dispensaries in the state from January to July 2018, according to a Boston Globe report. The measure will not have any impact on portions of the law permitting possession and home-growing which have already taken effect.

The measure was only voted on by about a half-dozen state legislators and has already been sent to anti-legalization Gov. Charlie Baker, who called the delay “perfectly appropriate.”

Jim Borghesani, an activist who worked with the Yes on 4 campaign, said that the measure, approved by 54 percent of voters during November’s General Election, “was written with careful consideration regarding process and timelines and that no major legislative revisions are necessary.”

“We are very disappointed that the Legislature has decided to alter Question 4 in an informal session with very little notice regarding proposed changes,” he said in the report.

The passage of the measure in the Senate took less than a minute, with just two of the chamber’s lawmakers present for the vote – Democratic Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, and Republican Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr. Passage in the House was even faster, and with Democrat Paul Donato presiding, just five members passed the bill “in seconds,” the report says.

“The Legislature has a responsibility to implement the will of the voters while also protecting public health and public safety,” Rosenberg said. “This short delay will allow the necessary time for the Legislature to work with stakeholders on improving the new law.”

Colorado was able to draft regulations and rollout their recreational market in the amount of time specified under the version of the bill passed by Massachusetts voters.

Baker has 10 days to either veto the bill or sign it into law.

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