Picture of Boston, Massachusetts across a water channel.

Tim Sackton

The most immediate effect the passage of Question 4 will have in Massachusetts is that, as of Dec. 15, adults over 21-years-old will be able to possess and use 1 ounce of cannabis and people will be allowed to grow up to 12 plants per household. Yet, retail sales are likely more than a year away, according to reports from Fox25 and CBS, as there is a lot of bureaucracy that needs to happen before legal sales commence.

On Feb. 1, 2017, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker will make his first appointments to the state’s 15-member Cannabis Advisory Board – who will develop rules and regulations for the program. The following month, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will appoint three members to the Cannabis Control Commission — which is expected to establish the initial regulations by Sept. 15 and issue its first cultivation, manufacturer, and retailer licenses by Oct. 1.

Under the plan, existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be given preference for commercial licenses until Jan. 1, 2018. Additional licenses will be awarded via lottery.

The tax rate — set at 12 percent under the initiative — is already being debated by officials and Goldberg is pushing for the rate to be more in line with Washington at 37 percent. Baker, who has protested against any tax increases in the state, has not said whether he supported raising the tax.

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