Massachusetts state legislators used their end-of-year session time in part to enact a bill that likely will delay the opening of retail marijuana businesses until the middle of 2018. Gov. Charlie Baker signed the legislation, with he and lawmakers expressing concern about making sure to implement a legalized marijuana statute in a responsible fashion.
As of Dec. 15, adults in Massachusetts may possess and use limited amounts of marijuana and may grow up to a dozen plants in their homes, based on the result of a November ballot initiative. But the decision to enact legislation that will delay the opening of retail shops by pushing back key target dates for the state's Cannabis Control Commission has been met with criticism by legalization supporters, who say political leaders are not adhering to the will of the people. The new law is expected to delay the opening of retail businesses by at least six months.
The two houses of the state legislature adopted the bill last month with no debate, no public hearing and a number of legislators absent, the Associated Press reported. Many of the legislation's supporters, including Baker, had argued against the legalization initiative that voters approved in November.