Massachusetts marijuana law may change; higher tax possible

Following ballot victory, new law goes into effect on December 15

FILE-In this Friday, April 22, 2016 file photo, a marijuana bud is seen at a medical marijuana facility in Unity, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts has become the first state on the East Coast to legalize recreational marijuana, and our state’s new law will go into effect in about a month. It was a hard-fought campaign on both sides, but ultimately, 54% of Massachusetts residents voted “yes” on Question 4, to legalize and tax the sale of recreational pot.

Beginning on December 15, adults over the age of 21 will be legally allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public, and grow up to six plants at home. You will not see commercial retail stores open up until 2018.

Top state leaders are already considering whether to increase the 12% tax on the drug, which is less than half the rate in Colorado.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) told 22News that he expects the Legislature to try to make changes to the marijuana law in the next year, and that could include a higher tax.

“Looking to make some changes, or some tweaks if you will,” DeLeo said. When asked about higher taxes, he replied: “I believe that will be one thing that will be discussed.”

Voters in California and Nevada also passed recreational marijuana laws on election night. A recount has been requested in Maine’s vote over marijuana legalization.