Below is a summary of the initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Massachusetts, which we are working to place on the November 2016 ballot. Click here to read the full text of the initiative.
What the Initiative Does
- Adult Possession — It allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside of their residences and up to 10 ounces of marijuana in an enclosed, locked space within their residences, which mimics the current in-residence allowance established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for medical marijuana patients. Possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana outside of a residence will be punishable by a civil fine. Possession of more than two ounces outside of a residence will be punishable by existing penalties.
- Limited Home Growing — It allows adults 21 years of age and older to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown. No more than 12 total marijuana plants can be grown in a single residence. Property owners and landlords will have the right to prohibit marijuana from being grown on their property.
- Regulation and Oversight — It creates a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it establishes the Cannabis Control Commission (similar to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission) to implement and enforce regulations governing the cultivation, sale, and testing of marijuana. The commission will include a law enforcement unit that will be responsible for enforcing regulations, conducting compliance checks, and investigating violations.
- Local Control — Cities and towns will have the authority to impose limits on where and when marijuana businesses are allowed to operate.
- Taxes Marijuana Sales — It will enact a 3.75% state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the 6.25% state sales tax), which will be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of regulations. Any additional marijuana tax revenue will be re-deposited into the General Fund. It will also allow localities to impose an additional tax of up to 2% on retail marijuana sales. Medical marijuana sales will NOT be subject to these additional state and local taxes.
What the Initiative Does NOT Do
- Public Use — It does NOT allow marijuana to be used in public. Using marijuana on the street, in parks, or any other public place will remain illegal.
- Driving Under the Influence — It does NOT change existing laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana. Driving while impaired by marijuana will remain entirely illegal.
- Unlicensed Activities — It does NOT allow unlicensed individuals to sell any amount of marijuana or produce marijuana extracts using butane or other potentially hazardous products.
- Employment Policies — It does NOT affect employers’ current marijuana policies or their ability to establish workplace restrictions on marijuana consumption by employees.
- Medical Marijuana Rights — It does NOT enact a tax on the sale of medical marijuana or affect the rights granted to patients under the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.