House approves amendments to state marijuana law

Pot sales would be taxed at 28 percent instead of 12 percent.

(Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

BOSTON (WWLP) – The House approved a bill to revise Massachusetts’ recreational pot law in a 126-28 vote Wednesday evening. The bill makes several amendments to the Massachusetts pot law that voters approved at the ballot box in November, including changes in tax rate and local control over pot shops.

The House bill allows local government officials to ban marijuana shops from opening in town rather than allowing residents to decide through a referendum, as the current law calls for. Under the proposal, pot sales would be taxed at 28 percent instead of the 12 percent tax approved by voters.

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Lawmakers plan to use the projected $50 million in pot revenues for substance abuse prevention and treatment. But pot reform activists and some lawmakers say the bill goes against the will of the voters.

“I think it’s very high,” State Rep. John Velis told 22News. “I think it still runs the risk of making people go to the black market. That is essentially double what the voters have said.”

The Senate is debating their own bill to reform Massachusetts’ pot laws.