State revenue officials predicted taxes on marijuana could eventually bring in more than $100 million each year. The attorney general’s office encouraged lawmakers to clarify how cities and towns can prohibit pot stores. And a long bearded man argued that bills to adjust the state’s new marijuana law are “essentially shredding the will of the people.”
Together, the varied testimony Monday at the first hearing of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy reflected the complexities of the legalization measure passed by 1.8 million voters last fall. At the core of questions from lawmakers was how to balance their competing responsibilities: respecting the voice of the voters, while adjusting the cannabis law to best protect public health and maintain order.
“We recognize that folks want it legalized,” said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat. “But we want to make sure that it’s done in a safe manner.”
Once an initiative petition passes, it is like any other law, which means the Legislature can amend it. But elected officials are often reluctant to tinker with what their constituents have directly approved. [Read more at Boston Globe]
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