A bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana recreationally has been introduced in Massachusetts and will appear as a 2016 ballot measure, putting the passing of the law into voters’ hands.
The bill would allow adults 21 or older to possess, grow and consume limited amounts of marijuana and would establish a fully regulated market of licensed marijuana retail stores, marijuana cafés, and facilities for cultivation, processing and testing. Retail sales at the cafés would be taxed, but home-grown marijuana would not. Marijuana possession would remain a civil violation, punishable by a fine of $100 for persons under 21 years of age.
Unlike other marijuana legalization laws enacted in other states, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act of 2016 in Massachusetts does not impose personal possession limits or restrict the number of plants an adult can grow at home. Instead, personal possession has been defined as “the cultivation, storage and delivery of cannabis without intent to sell.” However, possessing marijuana outside one’s home is considered “transportation” and is limited to ten ounces.
“Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society, and it ought to be treated that way,” said Matt Simon, a political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “There is a mountain of evidence demonstrating marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, less toxic, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior.”