Legal recreational marijuana in Massachusetts came one step closer to fruition today when governor Charlie Baker signed a bill detailing how the program will be implemented. Retailers should be able to open up shop by July 2018, which is quite a bit later than the start of adult-use programs in other states that approved legalization along with MA last November – Nevada started sales earlier this month, and both Maine and California are scheduled to begin in early 2018.
Some highlights of the law include a 20% tax, an increase over the 12% that was initially approved by voters, and an interesting system by which local cities and towns can ban shops. Only those locations where a majority of voters voted against legalization last November can unilaterally ban stores – if the measure passed in a particular location, then voters must be given a chance to vote on any ban. The law also moves control of the existing medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Health to the newly created 5-person Cannabis Control Commission which will now oversee both the medical and recreational programs.