Gov. Charlie Baker indicated Thursday that he will sign a controversial bill passed by lawmakers that will push the opening of recreational pot shops into the summer of 2018, calling the six-month delay "consistent" with the concerns he's heard.
State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who is the state's top cannabis regulator, has been very vocal in urging a delay.
Marijuana Majority founder and Marijuana.com journalist Tom Angell said in a message to The Root, "It's absolutely insane that in our American democracy a single-digit number of legislators can, in a matter of minutes with very little notice, override the will of almost two million voters".
"Luckily, we are in a position where we can learn from the experiences of other states to implement the most responsible recreational marijuana law in the country".
Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, both Democrats, said pushing back the deadlines will give lawmakers more time improve the law by considering issues that were not addressed in the ballot question.
The Legislature has for years shied away from marijuana debates, looking on as voters approved three laws easing restrictions on the intoxicating plant.
As we have seen in the industry already, getting a legal cannabis program up and running in a state can take some time, and not every state can be as fast and as smooth as Colorado was when it debuted its framework.
Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots, a Colorado-based company that connects marijuana consumers "with products they'll love", said in a statement, "It's a shame a small group of legislators are working to undermine the will of millions of voters in MA".
Today's legislation also included language that directs the department of public health to partner with a research entity to conduct a first of its kind statewide baseline study on marijuana use in the Commonwealth.
In the coming weeks, the legislature will establish a Committee on Marijuana comprised of member of both branches to work with stakeholders to research, review, and draft marijuana related legislation. "This is not reinventing the wheel".
He said that he was unaware of the measure before the vote but he was not surprised. The commission would regulate recreational recreational marijuana sales in the state. In 2012, voters approved that and still there is not a dispensary within an hour drive of the Berkshires.