On November 8, almost 54 percent of voters in the Commonwealth voted to legalize recreational marijuana, an important step in advancing social and racial justice and combating over-policing and mass incarceration. However, yesterday, in a special session, without any public hearings or public notice, 7 legislators were able to postpone the opening date for recreational marijuana stores by six months, creating a limbo situation in which possession is legal but retail is not.
We are very disappointed, but not surprised, by such behavior. If the Legislature had concerns about the wording of Question 4, they had ample time before the election to pass their own bill or to offer a substitute ballot question. Instead, they chose to undermine the democratic will of the Commonwealth in a most undemocratic way. The Legislature has a history of avoiding public debate and recorded votes—as well as a history of weakening or even repealing ballot initiatives. If Massachusetts is to be a model for other states, that has to change.
Your legislators are supposed to work for you, and they deserve to hear from you. You can find contact information for your state representative and state senator here. And when you're done calling the Legislature, call Charlie Baker to urge him not to sign the delay.