And then there were two. Last month, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced the first marijuana legalization bill in state history. Now, on the other side of the country, Massachusetts lawmakers are joining in the action.
Fulfilling a citizen petition, Massachusetts Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst) has filed House Bill 2929 and Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Northampton) has filed a companion measure, Senate Bill 1801, in the upper chamber. The citizen seeking the bills is Richard Evans, a former board member of StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet -- publisher of this newsletter) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The proposals would "tax and regulate" the state's marijuana industry, with the tax assessed varying according to the potency of the pot. Class C schwag would be taxed at $150 an ounce, Class B smoke would be taxed at $200, and Class A kind bud would fetch $250 an ounce for the state. The taxes could raise nearly $100 million in revenue for the cash-strapped Bay State.
But the proposals also allow for tax-free personal home grows and "gratuitous distribution" to other adults. All commercial grows, importation, processing, and sales would be licensed by a new bureaucratic entity, the Cannabis Control Authority.
"Decades of whispered grumblings about the wisdom and efficacy of prohibition is rapidly giving way to a serious -- really serious public discussion about how to replace it," said Evans, who assisted in drafting the landmark legislation. "Those who consider themselves leaders in government and the media have the obligation to either show how prohibition can be made to work, or join in the exploration of alternatives."
Last November, Massachusetts voters approved marijuana decriminalization with 65% of the vote. Now, their legislators have the opportunity to see if they can advance to the Bay State vanguard by voting for outright legalization. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, let the pincer movement begin.
Visit http://www.cantexreg.com for further information.