Sen. Ives’ Amendments Shape New Marijuana Bill Before Governor

Former state Sen Kathleen O’Connor Ives. (Courtesy photograph.)

Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives of Newburyport.

Because voters in Haverhill and adjacent communities last year approved the recreational marijuana ballot question, it will be more difficult for elected officials to place restrictions on the drug’s sale.

That is one of the results of a compromise recreational marijuana bill, approved by the state legislature and now under review by the governor. Communities that voted in favor of legalization would have to vote again through a local referendum to place any restrictions on businesses. Communities that voted against the ballot question, the city or town council or board of selectmen would be able to unilaterally issue a ban on any legal marijuana businesses.

Another element of the final bill is that pot sales taxes could be as high as 20 percent—6.25 percent Massachusetts sales tax, 10.75 percent marijuana excise tax and an optional local sales tax of up to 3 percent. State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives said Thursday she is pleased with an amendment she sought that was included in the final bill.

Her amendment requires marijuana products “to have a symbol or other easily recognizable mark issued by the commission on the package indicating to children that the product is harmful to children and would also require that packaging state, ‘KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN.’”

The bill also “prohibits advertising, marketing and branding which utilize statements, designs, representations, pictures or illustrations that portray anyone less than 21 years of age; including mascots, cartoons, brand sponsorships and celebrity endorsements that is deemed to appeal to a person or persons less than 21 years of age,” Ives said.

Ives also filed an amendment that was included in final bill which requires law enforcement with direct experience serve on the Cannabis Advisory Board.

“There is currently no known test that can be administered to determine whether someone is drugged while driving, so this amendment was important to me because it adds a law enforcement officer to the advisory commission with advanced training in impairment detection and evaluation,” she explained.

5 thoughts on “Sen. Ives’ Amendments Shape New Marijuana Bill Before Governor

  1. There have always been two ways to obtain marijuana. You either but it, or grow it. There is a lot of upfront/ongoing costs to be a true grower. I don’t see any high school kids being able to turn a profit. There’s more to it than just sticking a seed in a pot! Also, shame on the powers that be, that raised the taxes on it! A lot of people are turning to marijuana for alternative health therapy, with the rising cost of healthcare and rx drugs, you’d think maybe people could catch some slack. We’ve seen what happens when pill pushers and the government gets involved. They have been screwing the American people since day one.

    • Good one….

      I completely admit I got all the estimates of weight, growth cycles and costs off the web, so I don’t disagree that they may be way off. Plus, I’ve never smoked the stuff, so what the hell do I know. But my premise doesn’t change. Let’s say that growers instead of making $126K per year only make $40K, or even $20K…. people are still going to flood the market with homegrown weed. It’s just too profitable. How many young people in their 20s and 30s who can easily sell what they grow will get into growing weed to make that kind of untaxed cash? Think about what an extra $30K can buy you. Think about what even $5K means to a high school kid who can easily grow it and then sell it to his buddies. I believe that this legislation is going to “create” thousands of “new” sellers of pot that didn’t previously exist prior to legalizing homegrown weed.

  2. The bill allows for private individuals to grow up to 12 plants. This is going to lead to an absolute explosion in black market sales. This is going to be so profitable that it will lead to people getting into growing and selling pot who are not even users. Here is the math….

    Twelve pot plants can produce 2 pounds of pot per harvest.
    Pot plants grow to maturity in 8 weeks, which means 7 harvests per year.
    One gram of pot sold legally in Colorado sells for $20.00
    453 grams = one pound
    453 grams X 2 pounds per harvest = 906 grams.
    906 grams X $20.00 per gram = $18,120.00 per harvest
    $18,120.00 X 7 harvests/year = $126,840 potential profit per year.

    Black market sellers will ALWAYS be able to sell their product at price points in the market lower than what legal retail sellers will sell it at. The logic of liberals in looking to pot sales as a revenue generator by adding a huge tax to it actually encourages black market distribution. Black market prices will always be at least 20% (the amount of the sales tax) lower than legal retail sales. And there will be absolutely nothing legal retail sellers can do about it. This will be no different than retailers selling a product in New Hampshire versus Massachusetts when in comes to all other consumer goods. New Hampshire always has a competitive price advantage. And so too now will black market weed growers.