A bill delaying Massachusetts marijuana retail sales for six months was expected to the signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, a real bummer for pot smokers after voters approved a ballot measure last month legalizing the selling and possession of weed.
However, personal possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana became legal Dec. 15, reported Reuters.
The bill holding up sales was pushed through the state's House and Senate in a holiday-shortened session and delays licensing of cannabis shops from Jan. 1 to July 1, 2018.
Lizzy Guyton, a spokeswoman for Baker, said he would be working with public health officials and others to put legalized sales in place, said Reuters.
The Boston Herald said the delay will give the state treasury additional time to create a mandated Cannabis Control Commission.
"We are very disappointed that the legislature has decided to alter Question 4 in an informal session with very little notice regarding proposed changes," said Jim Borghesani, a leader in the marijuana legalization campaign, per the Boston Globe.
Drafters of the November marijuana legislation urged the state to quickly open stores to avoid confusion over having marijuana being legal to possess and use, but illegal to sell, said the Globe, noting that the eventual legal sale of marijuana could only be made through regulated retailers.
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg's office told the Herald that the legislature will create a joint committee focused entirely on marijuana legalization in its next session.
"The legislature has a responsibility to implement the will of the voters while also protecting public health and public safety," Rosenberg said in a statement. "Luckily, we are in a position where we can learn from the experiences of other states to implement the most responsible recreational marijuana law in the country."
Borghesani argued, though, that ballot measure had already factored in implementation concerns, said the Herald.
"We are willing to consider technical changes to Question 4 so that the new law is implemented in a timely and responsible manner," Borghesani said. "However, our position remains that the measure was written with careful consideration regarding process and timelines and that no major legislative revisions are necessary."
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