Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Massachusetts court OKs cannabis initiative

Massachusetts marijuana: Top court OKs legalization for ballot - Bob Salsberg, Associated Press;

July 5, 2016 - "Massachusetts’ highest court on Wednesday cleared the way for a November ballot question on legalizing small amounts of recreational marijuana, but it ordered changes in the wording of the question’s title and the brief statement that explains the measure to voters....

"The ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court [SJC] came hours before supporters of legalized pot turned in more than 25,000 additional certified voter signatures to the secretary of state, well above the 10,792 needed to assure a spot on the ballot.

"The court heard two lawsuits last month, one of which argued that tens of thousands of people who signed petitions supporting legalization were misled because they were not told on the petitions that the proposed law could allow the sale of food products such as cookies or candy with high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

"The court said it was disappointed that Attorney General Maura Healey did not prepare a summary for the petitions that included a reference to marijuana-infused food products that could become available in Massachusetts. But it ruled that the summary was nonetheless fair, and rejected other arguments that the question was unconstitutional as framed....

"The measure would allow people 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of pot for recreational use and impose a 3.75 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales, on top of the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. A state cannabis commission would be created to regulate the drug....

"Ruling it would be 'unfair and clearly misleading' to call the measure simply 'Marijuana Legalization,' the SJC ordered the title changed to 'Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana.'

"Several changes were ordered in the wording of the “yes” statement, the most significant of which the court said would make clear to voters that the proposed law would not only legalize small amounts of marijuana but products — including food — that contain marijuana concentrate."

Read more: http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/07/06/massachusetts-marijuana-legalization-ballot/57651/
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