Changes to Massachusetts marijuana law may be approached in phases

Since December, it has been legal for adults at least 21 years old to possess marijuana

AP file

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – The committee working on alterations to the marijuana law could choose to separate its recommendations into two separate bills, addressing some issues in legislation expected by the end of June and delaying decisions on less time-sensitive topics until later in the session, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said Wednesday.

“I know that the two chairs and the members of the committee have been discussing what’s the short list that we need to deal with in the short-run and what is the longer list of things that we could do over time,” Rosenberg said. “Because we’ve got to get the agencies up and running and certain things can wait and certain things can’t.”


Continuing Coverage: Marijuana News


Since December, it has been legal for adults at least 21 years old to possess, use or gift marijuana, but the Legislature delayed the implementation of retail marijuana sales until mid-2018. The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy has said it expects to unveil legislation making changes to the ballot law by the end of June.

Among the changes being mulled is whether to establish a different regulatory structure for the marijuana industry than the one prescribed in the ballot law, which calls for a Cannabis Control Commission within Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s office.

The issue of governance is “a very important question,” Rosenberg said. “We’ve had very good conversations with the treasurer, with the governor and speaker, and we are now noodling through a number of options,” he said, noting that the committee could recommend leaving oversight with the treasurer, creating a wholly independent panel or something in between. “There are more right ways of doing it than wrong ways … it’s a whole new venture for government and we just want to get it right.”