Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker stated that Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana law must be rewritten before retail shops open in 2018. Baker identified four changes he expects to see: expanded local control, a cap on potency, child-safety regulations, and plant growing regulations that block black-market dealings. He stated that he wants a new bill by April or May.
Expanded local control would involve giving cities and towns greater latitude to decide what types of restrictions to place on the industry. Baker is particularly worried about business density—according to him, marijuana retailers in Colorado are clustered in lower-income neighborhoods. To avoid a similar situation in Massachusetts, Baker would favor of a bill that limits the number of retailers per neighborhood.
As for a cap on potency, Baker says he would like to see something similar to liquor’s proof system, but with an upper limit on how potent a marijuana product can be. He would also like the issue of child safety, which has been raised throughout the entire legalization campaign, to be addressed and settled, especially with regards to edible products.
Finally, Baker has said that he wants the bill to implement a regulatory system that tracks marijuana from seed to final product in order to prevent growers from selling to the black market. “We have a lot of places around us where it’s not legal,” he noted, explaining that he wanted to make sure Massachusetts would not be funneling marijuana into other states illegally.