Tax and Regulate

Fix urgently needed for Bay State’s legalization law

Controversial host community agreements have compromised the program’s swift and equitable implementation — tell state legislators it’s time for the Cannabis Control Commission to review and regulate these agreements!

There are now more than 30 cannabis retail stores operating in Massachusetts, and the state recorded over $400 million in sales in 2019. These are the first retail stores serving adults in the northeast, and we know that this is only the beginning of what will become a robust market throughout the region.

Unfortunately, the rollout of the program has been frustrating for many Bay Staters, especially those who are trying to get businesses up and running. In particular, the requirement that applicants sign host community agreements (HCAs) with municipalities has created significant problems, especially for smaller businesses. HCAs detail benefits cannabis businesses must provide to a locality, such as fees and “voluntary” donations. They are typically negotiated between individual business applicants and the locality, rather than localities having generally applicable terms.

Massachusetts law already caps the amount of financial benefits HCAs may require, but the Cannabis Control Commission has not reviewed HCAs to ensure compliance. There have been many reports of HCAs exceeding the limits of the law. Fortunately, the legislature’s Cannabis Policy Committee has advanced a bill, S 1126/H 3536, that would clarify the rules for HCAs and give the Cannabis Control Commission express authority to regulate them.

Please contact your state legislators and urge them to support this urgently needed reform!

Then, please share this message with your family and friends.

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Tax and Regulate

Mass.: Public hearing TOMORROW on vape ban!

If you have been negatively affected by the ban, please testify in person or submit written testimony.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is holding a public hearing tomorrow on the vape ban, and your opinion matters. Testing has shown that tainted vape products are being sold by underground sources, so it is critical for regulators to understand the need for regulated products that have been tested and shown to be free of contaminants.

If you have been negatively affected by the ban, this is a great opportunity to share your perspective with policymakers in person or in writing. Here are the details:

WHAT: Public hearing on regulation of vaping products

WHERE: Public Health Council Room, second floor of the Department of Public Health Building, 250 Washington Street, Boston

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To submit written testimony, which will accepted until 5 p.m., send email to Reg.Testimony@state.ma.us. “Vaping products regulation” should be in the subject line, and department officials ask that all submissions include the sender’s full name and address.

In other news, it has now been one full year since the advent of retail sales to adults. As the Boston Globe has reportedthere are now 33 stores open, and the state has logged $393.7 million in sales, suggesting that the program — despite its slow start — has produced nearly $67 million in state revenue and up to $11.8 in revenue for municipalities.

Please share this important news with your family and friends!

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Tax and Regulate

R.I.: Ask friends and family in Seekonk, Mass. to vote NO on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW

local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. Please help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family vote NO on the proposed ban! Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.

Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!

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Tax and Regulate

Mass.: Seekonk to vote on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW

A local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. If you live in Seekonk, please make a plan to vote NO and reject the proposed ban. Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

If you’re not a resident of Seekonk, help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family reject this proposal!

The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.

Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!

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Tax and Regulate

Legal marijuana businesses open their doors in Massachusetts today!

Nearly two years ago, voters in Massachusetts approved Question 4, the initiative MPP spearheaded to dismantle and replace marijuana prohibition. After decades of seeing lives ruined by marijuana arrests and watching an illicit market thrive, Massachusetts voters realized that it was time for a different approach. 

Starting today, a new chapter begins. Massachusetts is now the seventh state where adults 21 and older can legally purchase marijuana products from regulated businesses. 

All over the country, we’re seeing the benefits of treating marijuana similarly to alcohol. In states like Colorado and Washington, marijuana arrest rates have plummeted. New tax revenue is bolstering schools and local communities. Law enforcement agencies are solving serious crimes like assault and burglary more quickly. Massachusetts made the right decision in 2016, and it is only just beginning to reap the rewards. 
 
Victories like these are only possible thanks to the tireless efforts of thousands of volunteers and activists who refuse to sit on the sidelines. I’m proud MPP was able to play a lead role in the Yes on 4 campaign — but we can’t do this work without people like you who fight alongside us. 

As we celebrate this milestone in Massachusetts, let’s resolve to make 2019 another year that leads to historic reform. With record popular support, and newly elected governors and lawmakers who support legalization, we have the opportunity to pass laws in several states that lack the ballot initiative process. But, there’s a lot of work to do to turn that popular support into new laws. Your contribution ensures we can continue changing laws across the country. 

 

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Tax and Regulate

Massachusetts Governor Signs Marijuana Compromise Bill

On Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the compromise bill that makes changes to Question 4. While the tax rate has increased and local control has been amended slightly, the bill largely keeps the legalization law intact.

This marks the end of our legislative battle to defend Question 4. As you know, the Massachusetts House originally proposed a very problematic bill that would have repealed and replaced the law, thereby raising the tax rate far too high and eliminating entirely the right of voters to approve or reject local bans.

With your help, we sent a strong message to the Legislature to respect the will of the people and to only make minor changes. We generated over 1,000 calls to state representatives and state senators. To everyone who called, emailed, or otherwise contacted their elected officials: thank you! Your advocacy had a real impact.

The final outcome is a major improvement on the House proposal. The tax rate will only increase to 20%, and by January 2020, all local bans will require approval — until then, local governments in towns that voted "no" in 2016 can establish bans without voter approval.

It is now time for the state government to begin the work of implementing the law and establishing a regulatory system for marijuana in Massachusetts. That means providing proper funding and crafting specific regulations without delay.

We will continue to keep you updated, because we may need your help again to defend Massachusetts' legalization law.

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Tax and Regulate

Massachusetts Lawmakers Reach Compromise on Marijuana Regulation

After weeks of persistent advocacy from Massachusetts residents, the Senate and House have reached a compromise that largely respects the will of the people. The House’s flawed “repeal and replace” bill would have made disastrous changes to the law voters approved, and we are relieved that the Legislature has agreed to a more sensible plan for implementing legalization.

The compromise bill’s most significant changes relate to local control and taxes. The legislation adjusts the local control policy, allowing local government officials in towns that voted “no” on the 2016 ballot initiative to ban marijuana businesses until December 2019. For towns that voted “yes” in 2016, any bans must be placed on a local ballot for voters to approve. The maximum tax rate — which depends on whether towns adopt optional local taxes — will increase from 12% to 20%. Under the bill, the state tax will be 17%, and the local option will be 3%.

MPP and our allies successfully led the 2016 campaign to legalize and regulate marijuana in Massachusetts. After our historic victory in November, it was concerning to see some members of the House propose drastic changes to the initiative approved by the voters. But thanks to the work of thousands of dedicated supporters across the Commonwealth, the law approved by voters will remain largely intact.

The bill isn't perfect, and we preferred the original language of the ballot initiative. However, given how problematic the House bill was, we are satisfied with the final compromise.

We generated over 1,000 calls to state legislators urging them to reject the House’s “repeal and replace” bill. To everyone who made a call, thank you!

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Tax and Regulate

Massachusetts Lawmakers Attempting to Repeal and Replace Legalization Law

In Massachusetts, the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy just approved a "repeal and replace" bill that bears very little resemblance to the legalization law passed by 1.8 million voters in November.

The bill would undermine efforts to replace the unregulated market with a system of licensed businesses. It would take away the right of voters to decide on local marijuana policy, and it could impose a tax rate on marijuana that exceeds 50%. It authorizes the sharing of information with the FBI on cannabis commerce, including employees and medical patients. It also makes the Cannabis Control Commission — the entity that will regulate marijuana businesses — less unaccountable.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, please call your state representative and tell them not to vote for this bill when it is presented for a vote in the House on Thursday. We must not allow politicians to repeal and replace the will of the people, especially when their proposed changes are so flawed and misguided.

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Tax and Regulate

Marijuana Now Legal In Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents are allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana as of December 15, ending the state’s 100-year prohibition era marked by vast social injustices, wasteful government spending and ineffective public policyyes_on_4_logo_header

Persons age 21 and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana on their person up to 10 ounces in their homes, and are permitted to give an ounce or less of marijuana to others. Any quantity above one ounce in the home must be under lock and key. Residents will also be allowed to grow six plants per person in their homes, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

No plants can be visible by neighbors or from a public place and all growing areas must be under lock and key. Landlords have the right to prohibit smoking or growing of marijuana in their properties.

Public consumption of marijuana remains prohibited under the new law, as does the unlicensed sale of any amount.

MPP and our allies will continue to work with the state government to ensure that the rest of the law is implemented effectively so that the regulated adult market is on its feet as soon as possible.

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Tax and Regulate

Massachusetts Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Kicks Off Signature Drive

Massachusetts Rep. Jay Livingstone, and Regina Hufnagel, a former federal corrections officer, joined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol at a news conference Tuesday in front of the State House to kick off the signature drive in support of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts.

Sen. Will Brownsberger and Rep. David Rogers were among the first to sign the petition and offered statements in support of the initiative.

The campaign must collect the signatures of 64,750 registered Massachusetts voters by November 18 to place the measure in front of the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

Here is Sen. Brownsberger speaking with NECN:

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