Members of the Massachusetts Senate Special Committee on Marijuana will travel to Colorado next week in order to learn firsthand about the state’s experience with legal recreational marijuana.
According to The Associated Press, Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) said that “we have recognized all along that the best way to really learn about the impact of legalizing marijuana is to spend time on the ground in the state that has the most experience with it, and that is Colorado.” Sen. Lewis chairs the special committee of 10 senators, 8 of whom plan to attend the Colorado visit.
The committee was formed last year in order to prepare for a possible 2016 proposition that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has collected enough signatures to get the proposal on the ballot. The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, which would be subject to a 3.75 percent excises tax on top of Massachusetts’s 6.25 percent sales tax.
The senators plan to meet with Colorado state legislators, regulators and law enforcement officials. “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes and the challenges we had in implementing the medical marijuana question,” said Lewis in reference to bureaucratic delays that affected the opening of Massachusetts dispensaries.
Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, have both come out against the proposed ballot measure; Baker said he is “unalterably opposed” to marijuana legalization.