MA: Legislators Eyeing "Incentives" For Cities, Towns With Pot Shops

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg says the legislature is looking to provide incentives to cities and towns who will allow the sale of recreational marijuana within their borders as the July 1 deadline for putting a bill on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk draws near.

"Believe me, I am sweating this one out because we cannot do another extension," Rosenberg said today during an appearance on Boston Herald Radio's "Morning Meeting" program. "We have committed to making sure what we are doing in this bill is improving the bill without throwing out all the fundamentals the voters supported by voting for this."

The bicameral committee charged with revising the marijuana ballot question that voters passed last fall have said they ideally would like an omnibus bill that tackles the many different impacts the legal sale of marijuana will have on the Bay State. The sale of recreational pot is set to begin July 1 next year.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, a staunch opponent of the ballot question last year, has expressed concerns about communities around Boston who have voted to keep pot shops out of their cities or towns, creating a so-called "pot capital" in the Hub.

Rosenberg stressed that there "is a way to incentivize communities to say 'yes' so (pot shops) don't get concentrated in too few communities."

"We are exploring options for how we can incentivize communities to do it," he said.

The ballot question allows for marijuana stores in any city or town in the state, unless the community holds a referendum to ban them. Dozens of communities are exploring whether or not to ban pot shops and Walsh has urged the legislature to take steps to prevent people from the suburbs from flooding into Boston looking to purchase marijuana.

Rosenberg is also suggesting funding communities with pot shops through taxes on local sales to make sure they have enough money to cover the ancillary costs of having the product sold in their city or town.

"The way I think about it at the state level is first you need the money to stand up the agency, enforce the regulations, etc.," he said. "Second, you need money for public health and public safety and third is what do you do with any money that's left over once buckets one and two are funded.

"We need to make sure they've got enough money to do everything they need to do locally," the Amherst Democrat added, noting money would be available at the state level to help cities and towns provide services related to the sale of marijuana, even if they do not have any of their own pot shops.


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Full Article: Legislators eyeing ‘incentives’ for cities, towns with pot shops | Boston Herald
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