Mass. Legislature Votes To Delay Recreational Marijuana Sales08:02

Both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives voted to delay the opening of recreational marijuana stores from January to summer 2018.

Will Luzier, who was part of the coalition that passed the marijuana ballot law, said he was "disappointed" that lawmakers are pushing back retail sales of marijuana.

The bill passed today will delay when marijuana can legally be sold in the state, in effect extending the gray area in which the law now falls.

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"For example, most of us who've looked at this don't have a clue whether there's enough money from that tax rate to actually pay for setting up the agency, for doing the licensing, for doing the enforcement and there also have to be considerations for public safety and for public health", Rosenberg said. "Luckily, we are in a position where we can learn from the experiences of other states to implement the most responsible recreational marijuana law in the country". "This short delay will allow the necessary time for the Legislature to work with stakeholders on improving the new law".

"Our goal has always been to make sure that the intent of the voters is carried out", said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo in a statement. About 1.5 million people voted against it.

Rosenberg said there were no objections to the proposed delay among lawmakers. "The voters have spoken and it is incumbent on legislators to carry out their will. MA was the first state in the nation to impose criminal penalties on marijuana - doing so in 1914".

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Legalization advocates learned of the legislation only on Tuesday night, said Jim Borghesani, who ran the campaign to legalize marijuana in MA.

Voters approved a ballot measure November 8 that would allow marijuana to be sold legally in MA, following in the footsteps of Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

The ballot measure established firm deadlines for the state to appoint the Cannabis Control Commission, draft and approve regulations, vet applicants and issue licenses for retail sales and cultivation, and to establish seed-to-sale tracking systems.

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