The group behind the effort to put a marijuana legalization proposal on the 2016 statewide ballot in Massachusetts offered a brief critique Wednesday of legalization legislation being pushed by 15 lawmakers.
The bill (H 1561) sponsored by Rep. David Rogers and Sen. Patricia Jehlen "permits home cultivation in any amount as long as minors have no access to the cultivation site and there is no intent to sell," according to the Bay State Repeal, which called that measure key as a "matter of civil rights and protection from overzealous law enforcement and as a check on excessive prices."
But the bill's proposed tax on recreational cannabis is "excessive and becomes more so over the first four years," according to the group, which says it will be more difficult to drive out the black market if legal marijuana is more expensive.
The group called a proposed Cannabis Commission to regulate cultivation and for-profit marijuana commerce a "waste of taxpayer dollars and a mandate for overregulation." Instead, the group recommends assigning licensing authority to the Department of Revenue.
The bill's sponsors include the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman William Brownsberger, the Senate Financial Services Committee Chairman James Eldridge and the House Higher Education Committee Chairman Rep. Thomas Sannicandro.
The Judiciary Committee will review the bill. Executive branch leaders have been slow to implement a medical marijuana law, also approved at the ballot, and legislative leaders this year have rarely mentioned alternatives to the full legalization ballot plan. Sen. Jason Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, is leading a new Special Senate Committee on Marijuana. -