Massachusetts Voters Approve The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 9, 2016

    According to the Associated Press, voters in Massachusetts have approved Question 4, legalizing the adult use of marijuana for adults. The AP’s final vote count is 54 to 46 percent.

    “Massachusetts voters historically have embraced progressive marijuana policies, having previously voted twice to amend various elements of marijuana prohibition,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “It is hardly a surprise that they have done so again. Question 4 is a common sense alternative that comports with public and scientific consensus and that reflects marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural status.”

    Massachusetts Legalized Marijuana

    Question 4 permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce and/or up to 5 grams of concentrate; in addition, adults may legally possess up to ten ounces of marijuana flower in their home) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The law imposes a 3.75 percent excise tax on commercial marijuana sales. Under the law, localities have the authority to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses.

    The new law takes effect on December 15, 2016. Regulators are scheduled to begin accepting applications from marijuana-related businesses on October 1, 2017. You can read the full text of Question 4 here.

    “In the face of inaction from elected officials, voters in the Bay State sent a resounding message this evening that it is time to move away from our failed, racist policy of marijuana prohibition and towards a safer, regulated industry,” said Erik Altieri, NORML’s new Executive Director. “By legalizing the adult use of marijuana, Massachusetts will shrink the illicit black market, generate millions in tax revenue, end the arrest of otherwise law abiding citizens, and better enable society to keep marijuana out of the hands of children.”

    37 responses to “Massachusetts Voters Approve The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act”

    1. Evening Bud says:

      Hell yeah, Massachusetts! The first East Coast State to vote freedom!

    2. J.B. Marcowicz says:

      So is it 18 or 21 for recreational?

      [Paul Armentano responds: 21 or older.]

    3. Rich says:

      I live in Massachusetts. Where can I purchase marajana legally on 12/15/16?

      [Paul Armentano responds: Under the law, the state is required to begin accepting applications for retailers by October 1, 2017. Legal sales will not begin until after that. Changes in penalties permitting personal possession and cultivation occur when the law goes into effect.]

      • justin p tortora says:

        so they won’t let medical shops sell to 21+ until they open rec shops? Im from the PNW and portland allowed this to go on until they set up rec shops

      • Cheri13 says:

        So another yr or 2 before legal? If was a new tax on smokes or gas would start immediately why so long

        [Paul Armentano responds: The possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults will be legal once the law is enacted on December 15, 2016. State regulators then have up to one year or so to establish regulations regarding the licensed commercial cultivation and retail sale of marijuana.]

      • Jeremy says:

        01/01/18 is when the first stores are allowed to open.

    4. Liss Que says:

      Hallelujah! Now time for the rest of east coast to follow suit

    5. Paula M. says:

      I’m so glad that this has happened in my lifetime. No more hiding and dealing with sketchy characters. America is great again!!! ??

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Agreed, MJ legalization makes America “great.”

        But Trump and Pence are in bed with the drug warriors, don’t you know. So, you might say they’ve “Made America Paranoid Again!” Which sucks.

        • Keith says:

          OK so can you please elaborate on who these “warriors” are. Also what’s the penalty for growing more than the allowed amount. Won’t people just do what they want ? Why bother people at that point and doesn’t slacking on the law just promote people to just grow their own ..how can they keep track of everyone growing it ..won’t the black market get larger because they’re slacking on putting the shops out ? I think it’s the best idea ever I’m proud to live in mass now again. Yay for mass. But there is a lot of grey area. If you have ever 13 plants are yout tossed in jail. Do they count cuttings not rooted and rooted cuttings as plants ? What about seeds ? Do people still have to break the law to obtain seeds .

        • Keith says:

          OK so once again since my question disappeared for no reason.

          Who are the Warriors you talk about ? Care to elaborate on that or are you just still crying yourself to sleep because Hilary lost and you just hate trump. Trump could care less about bothering law abiding pot smoking citizens. Trump cares more about the money it would bring to the states that pass it.

    6. Cat Cassie says:

      Congratulations Massachusetts!! Good for you!! Now let’s just hope Trump doesn’t ruin it all.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Cat Cassie,
        That’s my concern precisely. We’ve papered over the conflicts between state and federal laws with “states’ rights” jargon, a principle that should make any civilized citizen wary, as it was also used to justify racial violence and murder in The South, and is still popular on the Right. The Left pay lip service to it, when it’s about marijuana legalization!

        As a progressive liberal, I say we should stop doing that. Personally, I am certain that our rights go deeper than that — human rights and civil rights trump (fuck he fucked up that word forever, damn it) states’ rights and corporations’ rights.

        Colorado went blue this election, so we have that going for us here… maybe some protection… but you know the DEA is just chomping at the bit. You just know they want Colorado real, real bad!

        But the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak. So, if it’s a showdown between Trump’s AG (let’s say, Chris Christie, maybe) and the “cannabis genie”, who would win? Do we all go back “underground?” The entire cannabis industry??? Not sure myself, and don’t want to find out, either!

    7. Bob Constantine says:

      Except…it’s not freedom, if another person or group of people can limit how much you can grow and possess.

      It’s an expanded privilege, which should not be confused with a right. Freedom would mean individual people have the ability to mind their own business (unmolested)and not have the boundaries be forcibly determined by “authorities”.

      There is a difference between having a kinder master and being free.

      • Robert says:

        I get what you are saying, but in some ways this is less restrictive then the laws on brewing beer. With beer and wine they limit the amount you can make in a year to 100 gals. In some ways this law is less restrictive.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Bob, you seem to be a reasonable person, and I mean no disrespect when I say — so what’s your point? The initiative is a binary vote, not an academic analysis. Are you suggesting that you are against the initiative? Or what?

        I’m a big believer in Freedom, myself; I’m sympathetic to your line of thinking, but — there’s what you can control, and there’s what you can’t control. If you were registered to vote in MA, then you had a choice: for or against?

        I wouldn’t pass up a chance to force the cops to stop arresting people for pot — would you?

    8. Joseph says:

      Will I be able to take advantage if I am an out of state resident? Or is this limited to Massachusetts residents only?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The law provides legal protections to anyone over age 21, regardless of residency.]

      • Pedro Alapacas says:

        Fantastic Question.

      • Stu says:

        If you can find someone in MA to let you grow it on their land, sure!

        But really, I believe anyone will be able to buy once they have stores. Of course, taking it out of state would be illegal (although maybe you can take a boat up to Maine…)

      • justin p tortora says:

        should be able to.
        i moved from sc to wa and with my sc dl i was able to walk on in a rec shop… co and or dont care either. I think they might put a cap on quantity but all you gotta do is go to all the different shops lol come back the next day …

    9. Cold Bong says:

      Lots of misinformation going around, please confirm this new law doesnt mean citizens are required to have a medical card right? Some people saying you’ll be prosecuted if caught with marijuana without the medical card, thats not how I read the ballot question details…

      [Paul Armentano responds: The new law is parallel to the existing medical laws. Question 4 legalizes and regulates those who are not part of the medical program.]

    10. Brandon says:

      What does this mean for those with medical cards? Insurance paying for medicine? Do I just toss my card?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The new law is parallel to the existing medical laws. It does not directly impact medical regulations.]

      • Bob Sacamento says:

        I imagine its possible the state will set up a different taxation system for recreational vs. medical. Meaning that medical could be cheaper. I would just hold onto the card and wait to see whats up once they finish the regulations in a year

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          Colorado has both medical and recreational. The medical side means cannabis patients pay less taxes, and have access to higher potency edibles and products.