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NORML Breaking News: Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced In Massachusetts!

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 23, 2009

    UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! Listen to the NORML Audio Stash today (March 25) for a discussion of Massachusetts’ tax and regulate proposals with Richard Evans. Click here to tune in.

    California’s highly publicized effort to legalize the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis is getting some well-deserved company!

    A pair of bills — House Bill 2929 and Senate Bill 1801 — seeking to “tax and regulate the cannabis industry” have just been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature.

    These proposals seek to legally regulate the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults over 21 years of age.  Like California’s proposal, they would impose licensing requirements and excise taxes on the retail sale of cannabis. By some estimates, these taxes could raise nearly $100 million in annual state revenue.

    Adults who possess or grow marijuana for personal use, or who engage in the non-profit transfer of cannabis, would not be subject to taxation under the law.

    You can read more about these bills at the new website: http://www.cantaxreg.com. If you live in Massachusetts, we urge you to write your elected officials in support of H. 2929 and S. 1801 by going here.

    “Decades of whispered grumblings about the wisdom and efficacy of prohibition is rapidly giving way to a serious—really serious public discussion about how to replace it,” said former NORML Board Member Richard Evans, who assisted in drafting the landmark legislation. “Those who consider themselves leaders in government and the media have the obligation to either show how prohibition can be made to work, or join in the exploration of alternatives.”

    We can’t think of a better place to begin this discussion on the east coast than Massachusetts, where last November 65 percent of voters endorsed a statewide initiative reclassifying marijuana possession as a fine-only offense under state law.  Will a majority of Bay State voters also support legalization? We may soon find out!

    295 Responses to “NORML Breaking News: Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced In Massachusetts!”

    1. Stalin_Jr. says:

      Will these bills really go to debate? The whole thing is meant to mirror excise on liquor and the zoning restrictions with that are supposed to go hand in hand. Also, people can only sell at their authorized area. So it’s not a law to legalize, it’s a law to legalize it for big business to roll over you and shut you out in your own town. The rates are a disincentive to all involved and show the true cynical face of these propositions, as do their timing.

    2. Stalin_Jr. says:

      Also to the person above who is better than all of us because he has healthy lungs and is no longer addicted to Marihuana: possession of under 1 oz. is a breach of civil law in MA punishable by a stern talking-to. Basically, the punishment is the same as listening to your bitchass, so no one in that state cares about your opinion anymore regardless of this law.

    3. Sweetpoison says:

      I wrote both of my state reps Gale D. Candaras
      State Senator and Rep. Thomas Petrolati
      on this matter and have yet to recieve a response. I personally feel that our politicians are cowards when it come to common sense legislation, so I’m not expecting any positive movement on these bills. I’m curious if anyone has a binding ballot initiative waiting in the wings on either legalization or a medical marijuana law. Seems that support among the voters might be the proper way to bypass our legislature. It certainly worked on the decriminilization initiative.

    4. Sweetpoison says:

      here is an article by the author of legalization bill
      http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/
      CT_evans25_03-25-09_JGDO647_v14.3e65084.html

    5. Stalin_Jr. says:

      You people are dogs, forgive the blows first friendly scratch of the ear. Oh all we have to do is pay 650 dollars for an ounce of shitty Canadian weed and you won’t lock us up anymore? But you still reserve the right to, I get it, you’re a Big Man. Take everyone’s money, destroy the laissez faire weed market, steal what you can and lock the rest up. Hey, just like always. Except now they pretend it’s legal while leaving the punishment on the books, with their Inspection Forces free to inspect your grow at any Reasonable Hour? Or to inspect your Point of Sale at any Reasonable Hour? With the authority then to revoke all your licensing upon inspection immediately, leaving you subject to the full existing penalties. Wake up. This is a license for them to steal as much money as they want from the weed people. When they’re tapped out or if they don’t play ball just right, BAM, right to jail just like before. Except now you’re paying thousands a year in license application fees just to tell them who you are. Wake the fuck up. The lawyer who wrote these bills is a narc and so are you for supporting him.

    6. idwita says:

      first of its/their kind to be proposed post-decrim, and so this is important but won’t pass. we (here in MA) had 2 or 3 previous decrim bills not make it before we got the 65% vote last fall, that’s how most controversial stuff works here. (there was also a state bill here to ban dog racing [due to animal cruelty] that had been on the ballots at least one election before and failed, believe it passed this time as well.)

      and really, that’s not such a bad way for things to work. sure it takes that much longer to end prohibition, but by the looks of reactions, this bill needs some work. i’m not opposed to varying levels of taxation for different potencies, but in order for sales to happen enough to get the state significant tax revenue, the proposed levels will have to be halved at very least.
      also, an ideally-smooth transition has to be somewhat gradual, so that decrim will have really become part of common culture – maybe even with some state amendments passed – by the time a good legalization bill comes through with a real chance.

      still won’t likely take very long though. i believe at least MA and CA will have some decent form of legalization within 10 years.
      and people, if just -one- state solidly commits to legalization by overwhelming vote, the nation will follow.

    7. #254

      Fixed address,
      (must not have spaces nor line-wraps / CR’s),
      so that it will link to the article:

      http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/
      CT_evans25_03-25-09_JGDO647_v14.3e65084.html

    8. #256 idwita Says:
      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:43 am

      …by the looks of reactions, this bill needs some work. i’m not opposed to varying levels of taxation for different potencies, but in order for sales to happen enough to get the state significant tax revenue, the proposed levels will have to be halved at very least.

      RE:
      idwita,
      – – I DO hope that House Bill 2929 and Senate Bill 1801 are passed in Mass.
      I agree this bill does need some work, the tax-rates ought to AT LEAST be HALVED,

      (If not more; Even $75/oz is ‘too excessive’ for weak, leafy green),

      however, one of the bill’s provisions, Section 9 says,

      “…such excise shall be adjusted by the authority from time to time as necessary…”

      (THIS would allow the Massachusetts to LOWER the tax-rate AND…)

      “…maximize the revenue derived therefrom, and to minimize the incentive for the sale of cannabis not in accordance with the provisions of this act…”

      With the tax rate reduced…

      To HALF:

      THC >= 10%
      Class A = $125

      THC >= 5% = 1% = 10%
      Class A = $83

      THC >= 5% = 1% < 5%
      Class C = $50

    9. ENTIRE POST DIDN’T PASTE…!

      #256 idwita Says:
      April 2nd, 2009 at 8:43 am

      …by the looks of reactions, this bill needs some work. i’m not opposed to varying levels of taxation for different potencies, but in order for sales to happen enough to get the state significant tax revenue, the proposed levels will have to be halved at very least.

      RE:
      idwita,
      – – I DO hope that House Bill 2929 and Senate Bill 1801 are passed in Mass.
      I agree this bill does need some work, the tax-rates ought to AT LEAST be HALVED,

      (If not more; Even $75/oz is ‘too excessive’ for weak, leafy green),

      however, one of the bill’s provisions, Section 9 says,

      “…such excise shall be adjusted by the authority from time to time as necessary…”

      (THIS would allow the Massachusetts to LOWER the tax-rate AND…)

      “…maximize the revenue derived therefrom, and to minimize the incentive for the sale of cannabis not in accordance with the provisions of this act…”

      With the tax rate reduced…

      To HALF:

      THC >= 10%
      Class A = $125

      THC >= 5% = 1% = 10%
      Class A = $83

      THC >= 5% = 1% < 5%
      Class C = $50

    10. ENTIRE POST DIDN’T PASTE…!

      With the tax rate reduced…

      To ONE-THIRD:

      THC >= 10%
      Class A = $83

      THC >= 5% = 1% < 5%
      Class C = $50

    11. With the tax rate reduced…
      Are the ‘math symbols’ preventing this from posting correctly?

      To ONE-THIRD:

      THC greater than or equal to 10%
      Class A = $83

      THC g.t. or e.t. 5% and less than 10%
      Class B = $67

      THC g.t. or e.t. 1% and less than 5%
      Class C = $50

    12. With the tax rate reduced…

      To HALF:

      THC greater than or equal to 10%
      Class A = $125

      THC g.t. or e.t. 5% and less than 10%
      Class B = $100

      THC g.t. or e.t. 1% and less than 5%
      Class C = $75

      AND…

      With the tax rate reduced…

      To ONE-THIRD:

      THC greater than or equal to 10%
      Class A = $83

      THC g.t. or e.t. 5% and less than 10%
      Class B = $67

      THC g.t. or e.t. 1% and less than 5%
      Class C = $50

    13. pete says:

      How long will this take to go trough?

    14. #263 pete Says:
      April 2nd, 2009 at 5:45 pm

      How long will this take to go trough?

      RE:
      Pete,
      Good question!
      – – How long, (I wonder), did it take for states to establish alcohol regulatory-boards
      and liquor licensing-agencies at the end of Prohibition?

      – – The international laws on cannabis DON’T require the harsh prohibiton-system we presently have in Amerika,
      just well-crafted regulations and controls on growing, packaging and sales / dispensing,
      similar to what we ALREADY have in place for alcohol.
      This is WAY OVERDUE!

      – – Regulating cannabis is advantageous for several reasons:

      1)
      – – The consumer would know exactly what potency,
      (i.e. Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol percentages),
      and purity,
      (freedom from foreign substances / contamination),
      of cannabis they’re getting, thus would be more able to avoid over-indulgence,
      and would also be spared the biological hazards of poor handling / storage / transport,
      (i.e. mold-spores),
      and
      of harsh chemicals used to mask its odor.

      – What would be even better is if retail cannabis packaging
      also indicated the percentages / ratios of other cannabinoids in addition to THC.
      (This could be easily accomplished, we have the technology. . . ). :D

      – Varieties / cultivars containing higher ratios of CannaBiDioL relative to THC content
      produce a ‘sleepier’ effect than those containing lower ratios of CBD to THC.

      2)
      – – Regulation would more effectively prevent children / minors from partaking in cannabis use
      than present Prohibition System / complete illegality does.

      3)
      – Legal, state-regulated, licensed sales of cannabis would DE-fund criminal organizations,
      especially if retail-cannabis is priced to UNDERCUT the cartels / gangs.
      (Contrary to the faulty diatribes spouted off by various prohibitionist sheriffs and Atty. Generals across the country). :roll:

    15. Anonymous says:

      GG you lucky massholes ;)

    16. pete says:

      That’s what they call us. lol
      Is there any other place that i can find the latest info on where this is going. If it passes, I’m going to open a farm on 20 acres!!!

    17. joe shmoe says:

      Umm.. have any of you done the math? a $250 excise tax on every ounce sold? So, you would have to sell each ounce for $350 just to make $100 profit. This seems like legalization, but the state is just smart enough to make the sale of this stuff a ‘break-even’ endeavor for the grower. I’d rather keep the black market, and take the risk. Keeping $4k per pound, vs selling at $4k and keeping $1600 is okay with me. Think about it.

    18. TrueMaryJaneLover says:

      YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR SOMEWHERE IN USA FOR WEED TO BE LEGALIZED!!!!! :D SUCKS FOR THE AGE. BUT WHO CARES IT’S GOING TO BE LEGALIZED!!!!!!!! :D HOPEFULLY THIS WILL ENCOURAGE CALIFORNIA TO LEGALIZE IT? PLZ! WOW WOW WOW DAMN FUCKIN WOW!!! THIS SHIT IS GOING TO BE THE BESSSST! EVERYONE OUT DER WHEN IT BECOMES LEGAL SERIOUSLY BUY IT. I MEAN A LOT OF IT! SO THAT WAY THE GOV. WILL SEE THAT IT’S HELPIN MASSACHUSETS ECONOMY AND THEN OTHER STATES WILL LEGALIZE IT. I’M SOOOOOOO FUCKIN HAPPY RITE NOW!!!!!! :D

    19. richard says:

      i think making it leagle will be good for the economy but the tax of 150+ that is going to double the street cost, it will be hard to find people willing to pay that much. go at a more reasonable tax and you might find you will make a lot more money

    20. junior323 says:

      IF IT WAS LEGALIZED. HOW WOULD IT WORK TO BE BOUGHT?

      WOULD BE SOLD IN 7-11 STORES CIRCLE K’S AND SUCH FOR LOWER PRICES?

      AND WOULD THE PENALTIES FOR MARIJUANA DEALERS, AND GROWERS STILL BE THE SAME, ALTHOUGH ITS BEEN LEGALIZED?

    21. PISSSED AT US says:

      Legalize and tax…taxes can be adjusted later so stop with the IT”S TOO HIGH A PRICE whining..and the drug dealers who want to make 1600K for every pound..>SCREW YOU…i’d rather pay the gov’t than a whiney ILLEGAL DISTRIBUTOR who sells to anyone>>PUNKS your going out of business…most people will grow or pay the luxury of buying top grade stuff from liquor store..>GOO GO GO GO GO GO.
      NO MORE CHILDREN SHOT OVER A PLANT your GRANNY CAN GROW in her window box…kids are shot in the head over hundrds of bucks of weed… RIDICULOUS.
      LEGALIZE NOW. Everyone write the senate.

      ANY PROGRESS? where can we find progress on the bill?

    22. brian says:

      right on! but we need to do some major action in Texas. The unjust way we are treated is inhumane! WE NEED OUR MEDS!!!!!!!!

    23. That Guy says:

      Mass. has legalized cannabis and Rhode Island has legalized prostitution, whats next? I can see the world turning into the Idiocracy movie. Maybe I should just relax, puff, then puff some more, and just forget about it until my high wears off. Time to make some money off whores and addicts.

    24. ideceased says:

      why the age of 21 and not 18? im 16 and i know this, simply because at 18 you are still learning to moderate things sometimes and are still irrisponsible at 18, probably also makes it harder for ids that are my age to know a person of the age 18 to buy it for them

    25. matt says:

      Thats awesome!

      Just got to do this for TEXAS

    26. Christopher says:

      hahaha look what I found.. this underground LA designer, has a spring line coming out, called Bake at 420º, to support legalization, and it is themed around “baking” cookies… http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=505399286

    27. [...] for an end to the “war on drugs” mentality, Olympic superstars taking bong rips, 2 states introducing marijuana legalization legislation this year- that [...]

    28. Bobby R. Bradford says:

      I would like to inquire if any bill or petition is currently intriduced to our goverment for legalization of marijuana or medical marijuana in the state of Alabama. I feel that this state which I live in is the worst and the most corrupt about arresting small time users, reaping huge fines, forcing small time users that get caught with small amounts to go to DUI school at a cost of $300.00 per person and AA classes plus drug testing at $40.00 a pop every 2 weeks or sometimes weekly for at least 6 months up to a year for small amounts of marijuana, that is after they decide if you should spend jail time and/or being put on probation up to 2 to 4 years and we aren’t speaking large quantities most aren’t even 1/4 of an once. Then we have thier great repeat offender law which if you get caught twice then they can charge, fine, incarsarate or do to you what they want at their will. The worst is the fabrication of stories that’s being published in our local newspapers about how they are arradicating marijuana plants by using helicopters at a cost of around $4,000.00 an hour but they only show little plants not even 3 foot high nor have they matured to harvest buds from them claiming they have taken a street value of hundreds if not thousands even millions of dollars of marijuana off the street when we all know this is only propaganda to try and verify the money they waist on erradication of a pure natural god given plant. Is their anyway that we as Alabama citizens can stop the madness? I agree prohibition isn’t working, but the local judicial system here in this state are reaping millions from poor people that do not want to buy from the black market only to make some cartel from another country rich and famous. Alabama has some of the most rural areas and some of the most jobless people in America, so why do we need State laws forbidding even the medical marijuana that the poor (and they are alot of poor people in Alabama) can’t afford. We need help Obama not just words or unkept promises.
      An Alabama Citizen

    29. Bobby R. Bradford says:

      On another note that I forgot to mention, has anyone given any thought or is their any information out there that anyone is aware of pertaining to “What would happen to any ordinary working citizen even in CA & MASS (or any state for that matter) when or if MJ becomes legal and they consume it in the privacy of their own home and theoritically the next day the company they work for gives them a drug test”? Will they looose their jobs like today? These companies that have imposed their own illegal laws on Americans today will they be able to continue these practices? I do understand that, like today, if you go to work stoned or drunk you can loose your job and that may be justified. But if you consume MJ in the privacy of your own home a day or evening before the next working day, who are they to say you do or don’t have the right to a job? Will our legislative goverment address that issue along with the taxes they expect to reap with legalization of MJ? That just takes us back to prohabition in a sense. I’m all for leagelization but if or when it becomes legal to consume but not legal to keep a job if you consume it where do we go from there?

    30. Adam says:

      I agree why should the age have to be 21 instead of 18? I tobacco products can be sold to people 18 years of age I believe cannabis products should also be available. But I guess just having the chance for them to be legal at all in the state of Massachusetts is a big step forward.

    31. Nurfed says:

      I’m sorry maybe I missed it in the spam but when does this take vote?

    32. ITS ABOUT TIME THIS COMMONWEALTH STARTS MAKING ANY SENSE NOW ALL WE NEED IS 2 LEGALIZE POT AND WILL START MAKING DOLLARS.1 POINT I LIKE 2 MAKE(ABOUT THE BIGGEST MYTH)POT IS A GATE WAY DRUG!TRUE,BUT NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING ATTRIBUTED 2 THE DRUG ITSELF BUT RATHER BECAUSE THE SAME PERSON WHO SELLS POT ALSO SELLS
      (COC,HEROIN,PILLS ETC.)SO IF WE TAKE IT AWAY FROM THE BLACK MARKET WE WILL SEE POT NO LONGER A GATEWAY DRUG(NOT 2 MENTION YOUNG ADULTS WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE 2 OBTAIN IT NEARLY AS EASY AS IT IS 2DAY.SO NOT ONLY WOULD OUR GOOD OLD UNCLE SAMMY BE ABLE 2 SAVE THE ECONOMY,BUT OUR CHILDREN WILL BE SAFER,PEOPLE WHO SUFFER FROM ILLNESS CAN BE TAKEN CARE OFF.ITS A WIN WIN SITUATION NO MATTER HOW THEY LOOK AT IT.U REALLY WANT 2 KNOW WATS A GATEWAY DRUG(PESCRIPTION PILLS,PERCS,OXYS,ETC.)IF POT WAS THE GATEWAY DRUG LOOK OUT THERS A NEW HIGHWAY IN TOWN AND ITS CALL PILLS,KIDS ARE NO LONGER HEADED 4 THE BONG THEY GO STRAIGHT FROM THE MEDICINE CABINET 2 THE COOKER!REMEMBER IF IT MAKES DOLLAR$ IT MAKES $EN$E.!.E.ZAYAS.!

    33. Jefferson says:

      http://www.loserthought.blogspot.com has a real nice breakdown on legalization and is a full supporter of the legalization and taxation of marijuana for responsible medical and recreational use.

    34. daffy duck says:

      i live in mass this is awsome only thing i dont like is the tax paying 750 a ounce is not cool 500 is bad as it is

    35. I LOVE WEED says:

      Legalize it! 18 should be the age not 21….. Thats just going to make kids want to smoke it more!

    36. This is a long time coming i have been with for over 20years, hopefully it wont take as long to get this up and running maybe for for once beacon hill can get it right and do what right for all of us maybe they know someone who in pain! please make it soon PLEASE.

    37. JASON says:

      WHEN IS THIS GOING TO VOTE?

    38. john mahr says:

      this country has become a nation of debt where only money matters, not law, freedom or rights described in the constitution. police are kicking doors down like this is Iraq for non voilent crimes, the reason they need money. if the have to investigate for weeks to find wrong doing wouldnt it be safe to assume that any activities were not out in the open disrupting the community. they need helicopters and planes burning taxpayer gas outfitted with infrared cameras to see through walls, to invade your privacy to find you breaking the law. then they say voters dont want legalization, fellons can no longer vote so it seems to me the voters necessary to pass such laws are stripped of their rights so the govt can control who votes and on what issues.

    39. Yacon says:

      Did anything ever come of this? NJ recently did something along the medicinal lines I believe.

    40. Megan S. says:

      I am a young woman in my 30’s, and this should be the prime of my life. I raised my kids, but I sit here day after day in chronic pain. I think that voters should consider people like me, and not just themselves. I need something like Medical Marijuana. And I haven’t even the touched the stuff in my life. The pills tore up my stomach. I think this is the perfect alternative. There are so many reasons why people need this alternative. When used properly I think at the end of the day we can all still get along.

      -MEGAN

    41. [...] NORML Breaking News: Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced In …Mar 23, 2009 … UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! Listen to the NORML Audio Stash today (March 25) for a discussion of Massachusetts’ tax and regulate … [...]

    42. [...] Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, continued his moronic and ill-conceived diatribe against marijuana legalization… stating that he would fight this unwelcome “nail in the coffin” of today’s [...]

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