May 10, 2017

Legal marijuana regulations remain in flux six months after voters approved law

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Andy Metzger / State House News Service

Ellen Brown of Marstons Mills and the Northeast Cannabis Institute holds about $50 worth of legal "blue dream" marijuana in front of the State House Dec. 15.

The Legislature, Gov. Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg continue to play a game of cat-and-mouse when it comes to marijuana regulation.

On Nov. 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot law legalizing possession and use of marijuana, and authorizing a retail pot industry. But 184 days later, the question of who will be in charge over overseeing the marijuana industry remains up in the air.

In December, the Legislature and Baker delayed implementation of that law by six months, passing a statute that left Goldberg in charge of regulation while pushing back from March 1 to Sept. 1 the deadline for her appointments to the Cannabis Control Commission created under the ballot law.

In January, Baker said any changes to the regulatory framework for legal cannabis should be made by April to ensure the delayed deadlines can be met.

Since then, the Legislature has formed a Committee on Marijuana Policy, which has held numerous public hearings with the goal of developing legislation significantly altering the ballot law by June. Lawmakers say they still intend to facilitate the issuance of the first retail licenses in July 2018.

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