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Battle to Legalize Marijuana in Massachusetts Begins Today * 1
    #788492 - 08/05/15 06:56 PM (7 years, 1 month ago)

An official looking building.

Multiple Marijuana Legalization Initiatives to be Filed with Attorney General Today

BOSTON, MA — At least two groups hoping to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts in 2016 will formally file the language of their proposed ballot initiatives with state Attorney General Maura Healey today.

At least four proposals are expected to be filed by activists today, all hoping to be placed before voters in November 2016.  Local grassroots organization Bay State Repeal (BSR) intends on filing three different proposals, while the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), backed by the Washington, DC – based Marijuana Policy Project, intends to file one.

While all of the proposals to be filed today are expected to propose legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older, and include some home cultivation of cannabis, both organizations appear to be taking different approaches on taxation and regulation.

The CRMLA proposal would impose a 3.75% excise tax, which would be imposed in addition to the state’s 6.25% sales tax, bringing the statewide sales tax on marijuana to 10%.  An additional 2% tax could be imposed by local cities and towns, bringing the total potential tax to 12%, which would be imposed at the point of sale and paid for by consumers.  Retail marijuana sales would begin in January 2018, with existing medical marijuana dispensaries given priority for licencing.

Under the CRMLA proposal, adults 21 or older would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public, and up to ten ounces of marijuana in an enclosed, locked space in their residence. Adults would also be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home, with a limit of 12 plants per household regardless of how many adults are living there.

The proposed possession limits are similar to those currently in place for the state’s medical marijuana program, and the initiative would redefine some other marijuana penalties in the state.  If an adult is caught outside their residence with over one ounce of marijuana, but less than two ounces, they would be subject to a civil violation.  Currently, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts is punishable by a civil violation.  Possession of over two ounces would remain a misdemeanor, punishable by fines of $500-$2,000 and jail time of 6 months – 2 years.

CRMLA’s proposal would create a new division in state government, the Cannabis Control Commission, which would oversee a “tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities” operating in the state.  According to the campaign’s website, “the commission will include a law enforcement unit that will be responsible for enforcing regulations, conducting compliance checks, and investigating violations.”

Through various campaign committees, MPP-backed ballot initiatives have successfully passed in the previous two presidential elections in Massachusetts — first in 2008, when voters decriminalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, and then again in 2012, when voters approved legalizing medical marijuana in the Bay State.

Meanwhile, local grassroots organization Bay State Repeal says they will file three versions of their proposal to “liberate the plant and the adults who seek to enjoy in safety and tranquility their right to acquire it, possess it, consume it and grow it.”

Unlike the MPP-backed CRMLA proposal, which has been kept a closely guarded secret and was only recently released to the public, Bay State Repeal has openly published several versions of their draft proposal on their website, making numerous revisions based on feedback from the community.

Under all three of BSR’s versions, marijuana sales would be subject only to the state sales tax of 6.25%, nearly half of the potential 12% tax imposed by CRMLA’s proposal.  Home cultivation of cannabis would be allowed, but there would be no set limit on the number of plants an adult could grow for personal use.

Bay State Repeal proposes a lighter regulatory approach than CRMLA’s heavily regulated model.  Instead of strict regulation, marijuana sales would essentially be regulated by the free market, similar to most other goods and commodities.  The proposal does, however, impose penalties for anyone caught giving or selling marijuana to minors under 21.

Which, if any, of the proposals make it to the ballot in 2016 will be determined by a strict signature gathering process.

Under state law, proposals vying for the November 2016 ballot must be filed with the Attorney General by the first Wednesday in August, which is today.  The Attorney General then has until September 16 to review the proposals.  Those proposals certified by the Attorney General are then filed with the Secretary of State, giving supporters until November 18 to collect 64,750 signatures from registered voters in Massachusetts.

If enough valid signatures are collected, the proposal is presented to the state Legislature, who can elect to pass the measure into law or refer the proposal to voters.  If the legislature does not choose to adopt the measure, supporters then must collect 10,792 signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The state legislature also has the option under the state constitution to place a legislative substitute along side any measure on the ballot.

While it is widely believed that Massachusetts voters will easily approve a marijuana legalization measure in the 2016 elections, getting the measure on the ballot is a time consuming — and potentially expensive — process.  While the MPP-backed CRMLA has deep pockets to hire paid signature gatherers, Bay State Repeal is relying more on volunteers and financial donations from the local cannabis community.

If more than one of the proposals collect enough valid signatures, the state legislature has the option under state law to combine Should multiple proposals ultimately make it to the ballot in 2016, the measure that receives the most “yes” votes would supersede the other measures wherever there is a conflict — such as the proposed taxes.

Massachusetts voters have long supported marijuana reform at the ballot box.  In addition to the 2008 and 2012 measures to decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize medical marijuana, voters over the years have approved numerous non-binding public policy questions relating to legalizing marijuana.  Most recently, in 2014 voters in 14 districts were asked about marijuana legalization.  All of the questions in the 14 districts passed, receiving between 54% and 74% of the vote.

Since 2000, voters have approved 69 marijuana Public Policy Questions in various state representative and senate districts around the Bay State and all passed by substantial margins — none have ever failed.


Signature this, ho.

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Invisibleoeric mckenna
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Registered: 07/18/14
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Re: Battle to Legalize Marijuana in Massachusetts Begins Today [Re: SleepAid]
    #788557 - 08/06/15 11:05 AM (7 years, 1 month ago)

Their penalties for possesion limits are pretty shitballs still tho eh?

***Handing someone your life's work....in a single seed = :laugh: ***


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Registered: 05/12/16
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Re: Battle to Legalize Marijuana in Massachusetts Begins Today [Re: oeric mckenna]
    #813286 - 05/13/16 11:05 PM (6 years, 4 months ago)

why do you keep posting stupid ass articles? do you have nothing better to do?

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