BOSTON, MA — A bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Massachusetts has been scheduled for a key committee hearing next week on Beacon Hill.
Public testimony on the bill, House Bill 1632, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, introduced by Ellen Story (D-Amherst), will be heard by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on Thursday, April 24 at 1:30 pm.
If passed, the bill would legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older, and establish a tax on the cannabis industry in Massachusetts. Taxes would be established at a rate of $10 per 1% of THC per ounce.
House Bill 1632 would regulate the commercial cultivation, processing, and retail of marijuana to adults over the age of 21.
Massachusetts is one of a growing number of states where lawmakers are considering marijuana legalization, and Bay State voters have long favored marijuana reform in polls and at the voting booth.
In 2008, Massachusetts voters approved ballot Question 2, which decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing jail time with a $100 fine. Four years later, in 2012, voters again went to the ballot box in favor of further marijuana reform, this time authorizing medical marijuana in the state by passing ballot Question 3. Both initiatives passed with over 60% approval state wide.
Marijuana activists in Massachusetts have targeted a ballot campaign in 2016 to place a question to legalize marijuana on the ballot, and are optimistic that it will pass, unless the state legislature acts sooner on their own.
Recent polls have found more than half of Massachusetts voters favor of marijuana legalization in the state.