Legalization has kept its basic promises, but festering glitches mean the state is no model On Nov. 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana, closing a door on more than a century of prohibition and opening one to an uncertain new era. In doing so, they brushed past gloomy prophecies from opponents — a spike in…
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On Nov. 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana, closing a door on more than a century of prohibition and opening one to an uncertain new era.
In doing so, they brushed past gloomy prophecies from opponents — a spike in youth consumption, a rash of stoned driving accidents, ultra-conspicuous pot shops next to toy stores — and heeded arguments from legalization advocates that a tightly regulated cannabis market would be safer, fairer, and more lucrative for government coffers than the sprawling illicit one.
Five years later, that judgment call by voters has in many ways been vindicated. The public health catastrophe foreseen by opponents never materialized. Meanwhile, the recreational marijuana industry today employs over 18,000 Massachusetts workers and has generated $2.2 billion in revenue, with municipalities and the state together netting a healthy 20 percent cut of the action (plus fees).
Still, legalization here is falling short of its potential in several ways, according to interviews with dozens of experts. Since rewriting the voter-approved ballot initiative in 2017, the Legislature has failed to update state laws governing local control and equity so they reflect the reality — and not just the idea — of legal cannabis. [Read More @ The Boston Globe]
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