BOSTON (WWLP) – Right now, adults can legally possess, grow and smoke recreational marijuana. But they’ll have to wait until at least July 2018 to legally buy the drug under a new law signed by Governor Baker on Friday. Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and up in November.
About a dozen people rallied on the State House steps, protesting the six-month push back of retail marijuana sales to July 2018. Right now, pot smokers can legally possess and grow the drug, but there’s no legal way to buy it.
The people who rallied on the State House steps were outraged that a handful of lawmakers had the power to overturn the will of the people. “We have this window where cannabis is legal and recreational and I can stand here and possess it,” Rachel Ramone Donland told 22News. “But where am I supposed to buy it if it’s not gifted to me?”
State lawmakers said they need more time to develop a tax rate and regulations for retail marijuana sales to protect both public health and public safety. Protesters told 22News the delay will force buyers to turn to the black market.
“It is definitely dangerous because you don’t know what other substances they have for sale,” Joseph Gilmore said. “They don’t I.D. people and children and easily obtain marijuana right now.”
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst told me he’s considering a higher tax on recreational pot. Right now it’s set at 10 percent, and cities and towns have the option of adding an additional 2 percent tax.