NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Question 4 to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adult use passed by 54% of voters in the Commonwealth. Marijuana in Massachusetts will be legal for recreational use on December 15, 2016.
Once the law takes effect, residents who are at least 21-years-old will be able to have up to 10 ounces of marijuana inside their homes, and less than 1 ounce of marijuana in public. It will also allow residents to grow up to 6 marijuana plants inside their homes. Retail sales aren’t expected to begin until at least 2018.
There’s been a subculture of a marijuana subculture growing in the U.S. for years and you can find hints of it at local smoke shops. With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Massachusetts the hope is the taboo mentality will fade away.
The manager of Shop Therapy in Northampton, Erica Cole, told 22News they expect sales to increase with smoking items. “Hooray. Yay for us it’s a long time coming, and it’s just a matter of when it is going to go from state to state.”
A Cannabis Control Commission will be created to issue licenses to retailers who want to sell marijuana products. Anyone who buys pot will have to pay at least a 12% tax; the states 6.25 sales tax along with an additional 3.75% excise tax. Cities and towns will be able to add another 2% tax if they want to.
Blue DuVal of Florence said, “I think it’s going to be highly regulated. I think keeping it away from the kids, I was on the School Committee for four years with the Northampton Prevention Coalition and I think that’s a very big issue as far as how to regulate it and make sure it’s not available to kids, but we do that with alcohol already.”
A Marijuana Regulation Fund will be created with revenue from the excise tax, license application fees, and fines for minor violations to cover the costs related to the laws implementation.
California and Nevada also voted to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday. It didn’t’ pass in Arizona and it was too close to call in Maine.