Marijuana: Legalization Bill Introduced in Massachusetts

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 (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.

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It's about time...

This is fantastic news. Now, California is not the lone state out there trying to get marijuana legalized. With another state doing a similar thing, the lawmakers of California may not feel like they will be so ostracized by others in the country and federal government. This is what we have been waiting for, everyone. Even if these bills don't get passed, the progress that is shown in their proposal cannot be denied. If you want something, act rationally, build up your arguments clearly, and steadily chip away at the thing that you want. We are on the way.

$250/oz. tax

anyone who smokes bud and can readily afford a $250/oz. tax would not buy it. they would grow their own. there goes the inflated tax revenue.

$250/oz. tax

anyone who smokes bud and can readily afford a $250/oz. tax would not buy it. they would grow their own. there goes the inflated tax revenue.

The tide is turning: Don't stop now

Let's keep pressing our agenda. Here's what you can do:

- Write to your state and federal representatives
- Call their offices
- Call the White House at 202-456-1111

Too expensive

Those taxes will push prices through the roof! I'm sticking with the black market.

it's all relative

You think those taxes are expensive (okay they are) but try losing your job due to a failed drug test. I vote for legalization at any (almost ) cost!

i too think those taxes are

i too think those taxes are ridiculous, schwag doesn't even cost $150 an ounce now, i pay 120 for regular green. when drugs are legalized and regulated, they MUST be taxed reasonably or the black market, and all the evils it brings, will continue. that's where cigarettes are heading now, i mean the taxes on cigs cost more than the cigs themselves, uttely ridiculous and wrong. i personally don't think ANYTHING, property, income, anything, should EVER be taxed at a rate higher than 10% for all people equally, tax brackets are an obscenity, and the government really thinks they can just throw away money on all kinds of waste, power hording and bulls%&t and just tax the hell out of the citizens to pay for it. I'm so frustrated and disgusted with it all, prohibition, corruption, doing away with civil rights and self determination. I just don't know what to do, I don't see any way to fix the fundamental problems in this country, let alone the world, and it seems that even progressive people have this idea of reworking what already is, instead of looking at certain ideas, like capitalism, prohibition, big business, and realizing that perhaps the core of these institutions are just wrong and need to be fundamentally changed, not just reworking them with a slight face-lift.

good point

yeah, at that rate, prices will drive people right back to the black market. It does look like this bill was designed to fail, probably so they can come back and say, "see, we gave them a chance and this proves our point."

The only thing wrong with capitalism

is that it hasn't actually been given a chance in this nation, or any other that I know of. Free market capitalism as the economic system in America is a myth, what we actually have and have had since before the Civil War is government intervention in economic matters, mercantilism.

True free market capitalism means absolutely NO government involvement or intervention -- no tax breaks for some businesses at the expense of others, no regulations designed to limit competition of favored businesses, no government involvement, period, at any level of government! In such a system, the consumer would have ALL the power, a business that kept its customers happy and its employees safe and well paid would thrive, those which did not would fail. Simple, and effective.

I know this reply is off topic, but too many people blame capitalism when it is government which is the problem with the economy, just as it is government which is the problem we have with "illicit" drugs (if they were not "illicit" they would not be such a big problem).

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

forget legalize lets decriminalize

Forget Legalize lets decriminalize all drugs. we could still have our black market prices but wont be breaking the law by using them

nearly fainted..this bill

nearly fainted..this bill looks tight go mass!

By the way you can grow your

By the way you can grow your own if it passes..its right in the bill people!!

that tax is outrageous

while this bill is definately historic, 150 bucks for an ounce of shwag is outrageous and thats just the taxes-especially when i can get an ounce of shwag for 100 dollars now on the black market!! thats like going from having a burglers break into your house and steal your weed to having uncle sam run off with your wallet!!

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