When voters approved Question 4 in November, many of them not only knew that they were voting to legalize the adult use of marijuana, but also a lot of the specifics that the ballot initiative was supposed to put into place as far as general regulations. Things like retail sales starting in January 2018, being allowed to grow up to 6 plants per person or 12 per home were openly advertised by those pushing for legalization in the first place – and now one lawmaker is looking to change a whole lot of what was promised to voters when they said “yes” to Question 4.
Senator Jason Lewis appears to be attempting to restrict this new found legalization – and a lot more than anyone had expected. He has already proposed two different bills that would make major changes to the laws passed by voters. One of the bills would limit the amount of marijuana someone could possess in their home from the current 10 ounces to only 2 – which would certainly be a problem for anyone looking to grow cannabis for themselves.
The same proposed bill that would restrict possession is also looking to limit the home growing of cannabis from 12 per household (of 2 or more adults 21 or older) to only 6. Lewis is not the only lawmaker looking to restrict the number of plants that can be grown at home – though until now, no specific numbers had really been proposed. Either way, that is a significant reduction in the amount of cannabis people would be able to legally grow and possess.
“I think that when the voters voted on Nov. 8, they voted to make it legal and safe to possess, use, purchase, sell, and to grow marijuana, including in their own homes,’’ Lewis said. “I don’t believe that people were voting on things like whether you should be able to home grow three plants, or six plants, or 12 plants.”
The other bill that Lewis has proposed would make even bigger changes to the law passed by voters; it aims to delay retail sales much longer than the already approved 6 month delay, giving lawmakers until 2020 to get things in order. Considering every other state that has legalized has managed to get things up and running in around 2 years (give or take) this extension seems completely unnecessary.
That bill would give individual cities the right to ban any products other than “unadulterated cannabis flower” – basically plain old bud. Things like edibles, vape pen cartridges, drinks and more could be banned – all of which are extremely popular products in states with legal marijuana.
We have to hope that lawmakers will decide to respect the will of the voters and implement Question 4 as it was originally intended – rather than continuing delaying tactics on retail sales and severely restricting home growing and possession limits to the point where legalization wouldn’t make nearly the difference that was intended. For those in Massachusetts who are already looking at growing their own cannabis, this is definitely a situation you will want to keep an eye on.