With just a handful of legislators present in an “informal session,” Massachusetts lawmakers pushed through a six-month delay on a key portion of the state’s newly-approved marijuana legalization bill, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.
Voters had approved the state’s Question 4 in the November election by a margin of about 300,000 votes with 3.3 million ballots cast. A portion of the law legalizing possession and home growing of cannabis took effect on Dec. 15, but the vote Wednesday pushes the date for recreational marijuana stores to open back from January 2018 to summer of that year.
The Globe reported that the vote took place in a rare “informal session,” with only the state Senate president and the Republican minority leader present in a vote that lasted only a few minutes. In the state House, five members were present, and the vote took only seconds, the Globe reported.
Drafters of the ballot measure told the Globe that legislature was wrong to make the vote “with very little notice.”
Jim Borghesani, a leader in the legalizaton campaign, said that his group was “willing to consider technical changes to Question 4 so that the new law is implemented in a timely and responsible manner. However, our position remains that the measure was written with careful consideration regarding process and timelines and that no major [l]egislative revisions are necessary.”
Backers of the law say that the quick opening of marijuana stores is important to get users and sellers out of the legal gray zone that will exist under the new law, but some state officials say more time is needed to figure out regulations and other facets of the new legal industry.
Read the full story at BostonGlobe.com.