Massachusetts Senate Passes Opposing Legalization Bill to House Version

A showdown is brewing in Massachusetts, with legislative deadlines for marijuana legalization looming and voters left wondering if lawmakers in the House and Senate will be able to get on the same page in time for their will to become law.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill aiming to end cannabis prohibition in the Commonwealth, an outcome the voters indicated their desire for last November when they approved the initial ballot question. The amended bill passed in the state Senate Thursday by a count of 30-5 and with far more support from legalization advocates than when the House passed a drastically modified piece of legislation, replacing much of what voters approved with remarkably different language and guidelines regarding taxes, local controls, and zoning among other points of contention.

“We are not starting from scratch,” Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) told colleagues Thursday morning. “We are starting from a law passed by the voters.” State Sen. Jehlen, Co-Chair of the Marijuana Policy Committee in Massachusetts, added in reference to the House bill, “We should not repeal and replace any of the referenda that have been…

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