By Staff reports
Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 09:49 PM
Ellen Story, D-Amherst, responding to the 69 percent of the voters in her district who instructed her to vote “in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol” on Nov. 2, 2010, is sponsoring “An Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry.” Assigned House Docket Number 01091, it will receive a bill number in the near future.
If enacted, the state’s current prohibition upon adults having or growing a personal supply will be repealed, analogous to alcohol-control laws for home winemaking. Economist Jeffrey Miron estimated in a 2003 paper that this provision would reallocate scores of millions in law enforcement, judicial and corrections resources to other crimes and criminals. However, the system of regulation and taxation for a commercial cannabis industry, also similar to the alcohol-control laws, would not go into effect until legal under federal law.
In addition to Representative Story, Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, is on record as agreeing with her constituents to support regulation and taxation. Seven other members of the House were also instructed. Representatives John Keenan, D-Salem; Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead; Kate Hogan, D-Stow; Denise Garlick, D-Needham; Timothy Madden, D-Nantucket; Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington; and Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland, also were instructed by their constituents to vote in favor of such legislation.
Similar legislation was filed as a citizen petition last session by Northampton Attorney Richard Evan and received hearings before the Revenue Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
“As the Commonwealth faces a $2 billion budget deficit, the Legislature cannot afford to continue the unjust, unwise and unreasonable prohibition of cannabis to adults, nor ignore the savings, revenue and jobs that would come from regulating and taxing the commercial cannabis industry, including hemp,” said Mass Cann spokesperson, attorney Steven Epstein of Georgetown. “Massachusetts should lead the nation to finally ending ‘reefer madness.’”