Special Senate Committee on Marijuana Releases Its Official Report

March 8, 2016

03-08-16 Special Senate Committee on Marijuana Press Conference, Senator Ross

Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross, Chairman Jason Lewis, and the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana today released the Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, a thorough review of current marijuana laws in Massachusetts and an objective analysis of the many public policy considerations in which lawmakers will need to engage if Massachusetts were to legalize the adult recreational use and sale of marijuana.

Since its inception over a year ago, the Committee has conducted a comprehensive and unbiased review of marijuana health, safety, and economic and fiscal impacts. Senator Richard J. Ross was appointed to the Committee in November and since then the Committee has closely examined the lessons of states that have experience with marijuana legalization, primarily Colorado and Washington. The Committee consulted with more than 75 expert stakeholders, including government officials, law enforcement, academics and policy experts, healthcare providers, cannabis reform activists, and marijuana industry participants. In January, Committee members and staff spent four days on the ground in Colorado, observing firsthand the phases of the industry from seed to sale and hearing directly from stakeholders including people both regulating and working in the industry.

“In November, I had the honor of being named to the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana. As a current member of the Joint Committee on Mental and Health and Substance Abuse as well as the Special Senate Committee on Opioid Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Options, among others, I have always been a strong advocate for the health, wellness, and stability of men and women across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross. “Our primary goal as members of this Committee was to present an objective review and analysis of public policy impacts if Massachusetts voters were to legalize Marijuana for recreational use. There are many questions we still have, but what we collectively learned is that marijuana legalization and implementation is very complex and challenging. It is our hope that this report offers a bit of clarity on this issue and will better inform our colleagues as we continue to shape public policy in this area.”

The vast breadth of policy considerations analyzed in the report include those pertaining to: possession, use, and consumption issues such as legal sales age, possession allowance, public use, and driving under the influence; product and packaging issues such as the types of products allowed, packaging and labeling requirements, and potency levels; growth, distribution, sales and marketing issues such as tracking, licensing requirements, home growing, and advertising and marketing restrictions; taxation and revenue issues such as taxes and fees levied and how revenue would be used; and, a variety of other issues including regulatory authority, banking and employment issues, and compliance with federal law.

The Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana can be found here.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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