On Nov. 8, recreational marijuana legalization in Massachusetts will be determined by voting “Yes” or “No” on Question 4.
Voting “Yes” on Question 4 supports the proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. A commission will be created to regulate the cannabis industry in Massachusetts, and marijuana will be regulated similarly to alcoholic beverages.
Anyone who is 21 or older in Massachusetts would be able to possess (under 10 ounces inside a home and one ounce in public), use, and grow marijuana.
Massachusetts residents would be able to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home.
But the new marijuana law would allow property owners to prohibit the sale and production of marijuana on their premises. It would also allow employers to prohibit consumption of cannabis by employees in the workplace.
State and local governments can continue to restrict marijuana use in public buildings and near schools.
If Question 4 passes, the proposed law will take effect on Dec. 15, 2016.
This vote is only for recreational marijuana because Massachusetts has several medical marijuana laws already in place.
Here are the current marijuana laws in Massachusetts before the vote on Question 4.
History of Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts
For the last eight years, the majority of Massachusetts voters have been in favor of marijuana reform and legalization.
In 2008, a ballot passed to decriminalize possessing small amounts of marijuana. The possession of one ounce of marijuana became punishable by a fine of $100, and the possessor of the cannabis would not be reported to the state’s criminal history board.
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Prior to the passing of the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative, people charged could have had to pay a fine of $500 and face up to six months in jail.
Four years later in 2012, 63% of Massachusetts voters approved the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, Question 3.
Question 3 eliminated civil and criminal penalties for the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for those with a state-issued registration card. With a physician’s recommendation, patients with glaucoma, cancer, and other health issues can receive a registration card.
And the majority of voters right now seem in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.
According to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe Oct. 24 to Oct. 26 poll, 48.8% of voters are in support of Question 4.
And these are some of the biggest supporters of Question 4…
Who Supports Question 4?
According to Ballotpedia, the committee called “Yes on 4” has raised over $6.3 million dollars in support of Question 4.
Supporters of marijuana legalization in Massachusetts include:
- Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-MA)
- Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-MA)
- Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-MA)
- Moms United to End the War on Drugs
- The Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- The ACLU of Massachusetts
But there are those opposed to Question 4…
Who Is Against Question 4?
The “Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts,” “Safe Cannabis Massachusetts,” and the “Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action” have raised over $2.8 million in their fight against marijuana legalization.
Opponents of Question 4 include:
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
- Massachusetts Treasurer Maura Healey
- House Speaker Robert DeLeo
- The Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts
- The Massachusetts Hospital Association
- The Massachusetts Sheriffs Association
These are the arguments for and against legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts.
Before making a decision, Massachusetts voters should know exactly what the revenue from Question 4 will fund and how much Massachusetts could make from marijuana legislation.
Where Will the Money Go for Question 4?
If Question 4 is approved, retail marijuana would be subject to state sales tax with an additional 3.75% excise tax, according to Ballotpedia.com. Local municipalities would also have the option to add another 2% tax on retail marijuana.
Revenue received from license application fees, excise taxes, and fines for violations of the law will be placed in a Marijuana Regulation Fund.
This fund will help pay for the administrative costs created by the new law.
If marijuana legalization passes in Massachusetts, it could net the state millions in revenue…
According The Denver Post, medical and recreational pot sales totaled $699 million in 2014. And they jumped all the way to $996.2 million in 2015. That’s a 42% increase in just 12 months.
Of that $699 million from 2014, Colorado collected $76 million from taxes. In 2015, Colorado collected more than $135 million. That’s a whopping increase of 77%.
But local governments aren’t the only ones who stand to make massive profits off of the legal marijuana industry…
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The Initiative to Legalize Marijuana in America Is Growing Rapidly…
On Nov. 8, as many as nine states will vote to legalize marijuana. The vote is expected to create one of the biggest wealth grabs in history, transforming everyday Americans into millionaires overnight.
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