Communities and lawmakers divided on recreational marijuana laws

East Longmeadow residents voted to ban the sale of marijuana in town

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to regulate the recreational marijuana laws.

The State Legislature is under pressure to write regulations for the new pot law, and they want to have it done soon.

“And we don’t want any sales of it in our community,” Brian Falk of East Longmeadow told 22News.

“People could actually buy in stores and stuff and instead of shady spots,” Gabriel Cartagana of Springfield said.

Communities and lawmakers are divided over implementation and enforcement of the voter-approved recreational marijuana law. The House and the Senate, have filed very different bills.

“I kind of understand why they need more rules to make sure that everyone, like, follows the guidelines before they just send it out there and everybody goes crazy,” Cartagana added.

The House bill proposed a 28 percent pot tax, and would allow town leaders to ban marijuana shops. The Senate version keeps the tax at 12 percent, and would have pot shop bans decided by a referendum vote.

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As lawmakers try to figure out how to enforce the new law communities across Massachusetts, including East Longmeadow, residents have already voted to prohibit marijuana businesses from operating in their community.

House Speaker Robert Deleo pulled the house proposal Thursday. Some feeling the hefty tax would encourage black market pot sales.

“My feelings are it’s too easily obtainable without having to go to a store,” Falk also said. “It’s too much of it around anyways.”

The House and Senate hope to have a compromise bill on the governor’s desk by the end of June.