PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Marijuana legalization advocates are planning to introduce a scaled-back version of their legislation that would legalize the drug next year but put the brakes on immediate plans for retail stores.
While the previous version of the bill called for legalizing the drug immediately, the new proposal calls for taking that step in July 2018 when recreational pot shops are slated to open in Massachusetts. In the interim, a six-person Cannabis Advisory Board would be established to study how the state should go about creating a recreational marijuana market. It would make its recommendations by January 2018.
Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston, and Rep. Scott Slater, D-Providence, the lead sponsors on the legalization legislation, are planning to amend their bills to reflect the changes.
The move signals that legalization advocates are heightening their push as the General Assembly approaches the home stretch of the legislative session. Miller said advocates are willing to compromise in a significant way to ensure that “progress” is made this year.
“Our proposal balances the will of the majority of voters who want marijuana to be legal for adults while respecting colleagues who want to slow things down and get the regulations right,” Miller said. [Read more Providence Journal]