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 As you know, the Massachusetts House originally proposed a very problematic bill that would have repealed and replaced the law, thereby raising the tax rate far too high and eliminating entirely the right of voters to approve or reject local bans.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