Trying to wrap your head around the bill submitted by the legislature for recreational marijuana is nauseating to say the least. Question 4 was a solid start turned into a playing piece in what seems like the longest game of monopoly getting the cannabis industry up and running. The only problem is, this is not a game. When you actually watch the actions of the legislature, it is clear who stands by their words and who is in it for some level of power and financial gain. Senator Patricia Jehlen could not have said it better, “This proposed bill directly assaults the will of the voters and is a prescription for increasing the illicit market”.
What this piece of legislation did effectively was the exact opposite of what voters decided into law. This seems too insane to be a concerned motive, but another attempt at delaying the implementation.
One of the biggest concerns is the medical and recreational being housed under one bill. This has been the culprit of every other state’s medical marijuana demise and the patients have to deal with the consequences. As far as the archaic federal government’s stance, Jeff Sessions has even asked permission from congress to go after medical patients. With their even more aggressive attitude towards recreational, this is a one stop shop to shut it all down. The DPH has made over $7 million poorly regulating MMJ and neglecting responsibilities, but when you hire DEA and law enforcement for overseeing public health and agriculture, you might expect this lateral pass to another bureaucracy. This could be regulated efficiently hiring public health officials, healthcare professionals, agriculture experts, and the most obvious, cannabis experts in Massachusetts.
The complete dismissal over concerns of tax rate increase by hiking it to 28% and even further compounding the tax rates adding up to 55%, locks in the black market activity we are trying to come out of. At the Shrewsbury JCMP hearing, a former state representative turned tobacco industry representative even admitted the illegal market of cigarettes was instigated by increased taxes. We have had the opportunity to learn several times throughout history that prohibition and extensive taxes do not work. From tea to alcohol, it is beyond comprehension this mistake continues to be made.
Local Control was the biggest threat to pay-to-play, so of course that would be tampered with since we the people don’t understand what we are actually voting for. The only outcome for this is big business coming in and making a mockery of a compassionate industry.
Adding the Governor and House Speaker to the list of choosing a piece of the commission only allows for corruption and more possible pay-to-play. On top of this addition are 2 more committee members. The only thing missing from the qualifications? An actual cannabis expert. Only one spot requires a member with industry production experience, but this still does not specify from Massachusetts and being an actual cannabis expert which leaves out those who did not wait for a legal market to understand the plant itself.
There are so many flaws in this bill. The legislature whined about the bill voters approved in November being poorly written and turned around to slap together just about everything we know is a bad idea, rife with errors, resulting in a disaster that was already pulled from the vote. It’s like the legislators looked at a drawing of a bicycle and were like, “Yeah we can build a boat”. We got our homegrow and hemp though, so we should just bend over right?
Not now, not ever. We are watching ever so closely and it looks like reelection cannot come fast enough.
**We are meeting at the State House to Kill the Bill on Wednesday June 21st at 10:00 AM.