Category Archives: Question 4

The Bill Has Landed

No sooner said than done, the long-awaited conference committee bill amending Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016 (the adult use cannabis referendum) has been released.  Our complete summary of the new legislation and a comparison to the referendum’s original language can be viewed here:

Summary of Cannabis Legislation

Some big picture highlights:

(1) The referendum’s one year head start for many medical marijuana licensees has been eliminated. … More

Where is the Bill?

We are more than two weeks now since the passage of the House and Senate’s competing legislation overhauling the framework regulation and taxation of adult use cannabis adopted by Massachusetts voters in November. In general, the Senate hewed closer to the language and intent of the referendum, while the House repealed the voter-passed law in its entirety in favor of a total rewrite.  Then three legislators from each chamber were swiftly appointed to a conference committee to reconcile the two competing bills into final legislation.  … More

What a Difference a Chamber Makes: Comparison of the House and Senate Adult Use Marijuana Bills

The House and Senate have now formally introduced their competing bills overhauling the adult use cannabis law enacted by referendum by the Massachusetts voters. And what a difference a chamber makes! The House bill is almost 100 pages, repeals the entirety of both the medical use and adult use laws currently on the books, limits adult use entities to only one type of each license (retail, cultivator, and product manufacturer),… More

Joint Marijuana Committee Approves Sweeping Rewrite of Medical and Adult Use Laws

The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy today voted to advance, over objection and disapproval, a bill that repeals the 2012 Medical Marijuana law and 2016 Adult Use laws in Massachusetts — both passed by referendum — in their entirety. Our summary of the major points can be viewed by clicking this link House Bill Summary.

In its place, a House Bill sent out of committee imposes many changes including a 28% tax rate (up from 12%) on adult use licensees;… More

Tobacco Wholesalers Ogle Marijuana Supply Chain

Tobacco wholesalers want to monopolize recreational marijuana distribution in Massachusetts. The Boston Globe reported that the companies responsible for tracking, delivering, and taxing cigarettes sold in the Commonwealth are trying to insert themselves as a key player in recreational marijuana sales, once the market opens for business in 2018. Touting their experience with cigarette distribution, the wholesalers have been lobbying state officials to require that all marijuana producers sell through them.… More

Nevada and Massachusetts: A Tale of Two States

Nevada’s adult use referendum passed the same day as Massachusetts voters ushered in the Commonwealth’s adult use law. From there, the states took two very different paths.

Both states contain a “head start” for medical licensees to begin sales, as we’ve discussed here and here.

Well, wanting to keep its boot on the neck of the black and gray markets and begin collecting revenue,… More

Bans and Moratoria on the Rise in Massachusetts

Months before the first adult-use cannabis operators are eligible to apply for licenses, a significant number of cities and towns are passing (1) temporary moratoria on local zoning approvals of any such facilities; or (2) permanent outright bans.  According to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, 39 municipalities have thus far enacted temporary moratoria, while at least 10 have passed outright prohibitions.  “Dozens” more municipalities are expected to vote on such measures soon.… More

Watch: Massachusetts Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Laws and Regulation

Where We Are and Where We Are Going

With the passage of the 2016 referendum legalizing the adult use and regulated sale of cannabis and proposed critical changes to the referendum in Massachusetts pending now before the Legislature, the regulatory environment for cannabis is changing in Massachusetts.

Foley Hoag presented a webinar that examines the current Massachusetts regulatory framework for both medical and adult use operators, and what we can anticipate in the months ahead.… More

Say What? Sen Jehlen Wants to Eliminate the Medical Head Start.

Out of nowhere, Sen. Patricia Jehlen, chair of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, tells the Boston Globe that she wants to eliminate the one-year head start that the adult use referendum gives to experienced medical marijuana operators to apply for licenses. She tells the Globe:

But there are areas where Jehlen is keen to see the law changed. One is leveling the playing field, so medical marijuana companies don’t have what Jehlen called “an artificial leg up” in the retail market.… More

Alcohol and Marijuana: A One-Stop Shop?

Liquor stores are moving to gain a foothold in the Commonwealth’s new cannabis market. Last month, the Massachusetts Package Store Association (MPSA) agreed to support members that will apply for licenses to sell recreational marijuana. The unanimous board vote by the MPSA, which represents hundreds of liquor stores in the state, reflects the growing interest among alcohol retailers to enter the billion-dollar local market. And coming from an industry that fears losing a hefty market share to recreational pot,… More

Legislative Committee Assignments Released for Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy

Senate President Stan Rosenberg named five Senators to the Legislature’s newly established Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy on Wednesday. The Joint Committee will be tasked with studying the raft of marijuana-related bills introduced this session – as discussed in our recent post here – and reporting out any favorable bills for votes.  It was expected that cannabis foe Sen. Jason Lewis would be named to the Committee and he was,… More

Massachusetts Legislators Introduce Bills to Curb Marijuana Industry

The Massachusetts legislature continues to chip away at Question 4, the ballot question that made marijuana legal for adult use throughout the Commonwealth. In December, a handful of lawmakers voted in an informal session to delay the start of retail sales. Now, new bills filed by Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Hannah Kane propose major changes to the law, including a reduction in the amount of marijuana adults can possess in their home.… More

Massachusetts Retail Marijuana Operations Delayed. Here’s a New Timeline:

In the final days of 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill delaying the opening of retail marijuana operations in Massachusetts by six months, from January to July 2018. The way the House and the Senate approved the delay—without public notice, public hearing or discussion during a lightly attended informal joint session—has garnered criticism from legalization advocates. Members of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws stated the delay “flies in the face of the will of voters,” who approved the legalization of recreational marijuana by ballot question in November.… More

Summary of The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act

On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters passed Initiative Petition 15-37, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.  The Act: legalizes the possession of one (1) ounce or fewer of marijuana for people age twenty-one (21) and older and the personal possession of ten (10) ounces and not more than twelve (12) plants cultivated in a person’s primary residence for personal use; establishes a Cannabis Control Commission with the authority to license,… More

What the Commonwealth’s “Newest” Industry Can Learn from Gaming

At a recent meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Chairman Stephen Crosby instructed staff to reach out to Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who is tasked with creating the entire regulatory infrastructure for the Commonwealth’s nascent recreational marijuana industry.  Chairman Crosby figured the Gaming Commission could provide insight as the regulator of the Commonwealth’s last “newest” industry.  Forgive me, but I hope the Treasurer does not take the call.  Gaming is not the example the Treasurer should follow.… More