BOSTON (WWLP) – Friday was the self-imposed deadline to come to an agreement on the marijuana bill but a final proposal has yet to come out of Conference Committee.
Lawmakers are racing against the clock to get a final bill to revise Massachusetts marijuana law to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk, but they’ll likely miss Friday’s self-imposed deadline.
The bill is stuck in a six-member Conference Committee, tasked with compromising on a final proposal. The Conference Committee began meeting Monday to hash out differences between the House and Senate bills in a series of debates closed to our cameras.
“I don’t support any further delays. More than anything, I want to make sure that we do it right and that the end piece of legislation and the end policy is something that is fair, that respects the will of the voters, but at the same time, puts in measures for public safety,” said State Senator Jim Welch, (D) West Springfield.
The two pot proposal vary on controversial issues, how much to tax pot sales and who gets to decide whether to ban pot shops in cities and towns.
The House calls for a 28 percent tax, more than doubling the Senate’s proposed maximum 12 percent tax on pot sales, a tax rate that aligns with the ballot law voters passed last November. The Senate allows cities and towns to limit pot shops through referendum, while the House bill gives control to local officials.
Further delays to implementing the voter-approved ballot law could push back legal sales and, ultimately, revenue to the state.
Jim Borghesani, Communications Director of “Yes on 4,” told 22News, “There is a law in place. Now, they should at least agree to get that law funded. That would respect the will of the voters.”
One committee member told 22News that discussions on the pot bill will likely continue on Wednesday.