Since voters chose to pass Question 4 and legalize marijuana for the state of Massachusetts, we’ve already seen lawmakers meddling with the law that the voters approved. Question 4 was implemented in December, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, use and grow cannabis in their homes – however, the provision that required that retail dispensaries be up and running by January 2018 has already been altered by lawmakers, pushing back that deadline to mid-2018.
Now lawmakers are looking into further changing the law in a few different ways – the two things they are discussing the most being increasing the tax on sales of the plant and reducing the number of plants that would be allowed to be grown at home. They haven’t put specific numbers out there for either one – so there is no telling at this point just how much of an increase in taxes or how restrictive the new home growing laws could be, if passed.
“It’s legal now to have 12 plants in your home, but the advocates understand that this is likely to be debated in the process,” Rosenberg said. “According to the people who know a lot more about this than I do, they say that for someone who knows how to truly grow these plants and once you master it — which is not all that hard — 12 plants would produce about 30 marijuana cigarettes a day.” He added, “I mean it’s just a very large quantity to have in your home at any given time.”
Rosenberg’s concerns, if we give him the benefit of the doubt, are potentially well-meaning, however they are made under false assumptions. As explained by Peter Bernard, President of the Massachusetts Growers Advocacy Council, 12 plants per household would not be nearly enough to fuel the black market, or produce nearly the amount of marijuana that Rosenberg is describing.
“Most of the people who are going to try this are going to try and fail. Those who do succeed will average about two ounces a plant, and it takes about six months to grow beginning to end,” said Bernard.
Sadly, it is unlikely that Rosenberg will actually take what Bernard said into consideration – and we’re likely to see a bill introducing some sort of further restrictions to the number of plants the state would allow for home growing. However, we can hope that there are enough sensible lawmakers who will see that changes like this are unnecessary – especially when you factor in things like the number of people who will try to grow and fail, the number of people who will choose to only grow one or two plants, and the variance in how long strains take to grow and how much they each produce.