Georgetown, MA – Ellen Story (D-Amherst) responding to the sixty-nine percent of the voters in her district who instructed her to vote “in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol” on November 2, 2010 is sponsoring “An Act to regulate and tax the cannabis industry.” Assigned House Docket Number 01091 it will receive a bill number in the near future.

If enacted, the state’s current prohibition upon adults having or growing a personal supply will be repealed, analogous to alcohol control laws for home winemaking. Economist Jeffrey Miron estimated in a 2003 paper that this provision would reallocate scores of millions in law enforcement, judicial and corrections resources to other crimes and criminals. However, the system of regulation and taxation for a commercial cannabis industry, also similar to the alcohol control laws, would not go into effect until legal under federal law.

In addition to Representative Story, Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) is on record as agreeing with her constituents to support regulation and taxation.  Seven other members of the House were also instructed, they are: Representatives John Keenan (D-Salem), Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), Kate Hogan (D-Stow), Denise Garlick (D-Needham), Timothy Madden (D-Nantucket), Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) and Thomas Conroy (D-Wayland) also were instructed by their constituents to vote in favor of such legislation.

During the campaign last fall, although their districts were not voting on the question, Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) and Joyce Spiliotis (D-Peabody) both told the Salem News they supported taxation and regulation of marijuana.

Similar legislation was filed as a citizen petition last session by Northampton Attorney Richard Evan and received hearings before the Revenue Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

Massachusetts lead the way to independence in 1775. In 1911, it lead the way to demonizing cannabis. In 1930, it was the first state to legalize alcohol by voter initiative, while national prohibition was still in effect.

“As the Commonwealth faces a two billion dollar budget deficit, the legislature cannot afford to continue the unjust, unwise and unreasonable prohibition of cannabis to adults, nor ignore the savings, revenue and jobs that would come from regulating and taxing the commercial cannabis industry, including hemp,” said Mass Cann spokesperson, attorney Steven Epstein of Georgetown. “Massachusetts should lead the nation to finally ending “reefer madness.”

As always Mass Cann wishes all members of the media success in their pursuit of happiness today and every day.

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