BREAKING NEWS: Massachusetts Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Legalization Measure Tomorrow!

[Editor’s note: A version of this post was previously list-served to NORML’s membership in Massachusetts. To receive updates about pending legislation in your state, sign up for NORML’s free list-serv service here.] REMINDER — On Wednesday, October 14, Massachusetts state lawmakers will hear testimony in support of taxing and regulating the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults age 21 and older.
Members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue are scheduled to hear House Bill 2929, ‘An Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry,’ on Wednesday at 10 am in Room B2 of the State House. House Bill 2929, along with its companion bill SB 1801, were introduced by request in March.
NORML founder and Legal Counsel Keith Stroup will testify in favor of the measures [Editor’s note: Read Keith’s written testimony here.] — along with NORML Advisory Board member Dr. Lester Grinspoon (Harvard Medical School emeritus) and members of NORML’s state affiliate, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.
This hearing is historic because it is the first time the state legislature has ever debated legalizing the adult use of marijuana.
If you live in Massachusetts, please show your support for these measures by contacting your state elected officials and urging them to support these common sense proposals. If your elected officials are members of the Joint Committee on Revenue or the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, then it is especially important that they hear from you. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your state senator and representative when you enter you go here. The Joint Committee on Revenue may also be contacted at:
House Staff Telephone: (617) 722-2320
Senate Staff Telephone: (617) 722-1625
For additional information about tomorrow’s hearing, please visit the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition/NORML at: or visit:

0 thoughts

  1. I really hope Mass makes this step forward. Their laws are already lax, and if this happens I’m sure that many other states will follow. I’ll be hoping for the best tomorrow!

  2. If justice finally prevails. The dominos may finally begin to fall and other states will follow suit and legalize aswell considering how pretty much all the states are going bankrupt. LEGALIZE IT ALREADY… NOT ONLY HERE BUT WORLD WIDE.

  3. Like eveyone else here, I too hope the Gods of reason find their way to help make this a reality..and if so, i packin’ up and heading east. Having said that, it’s still a big IF so I’m going to give reservation to getting too humpfist over anything until it actually happens…I’m just sayin’…

  4. to; paul armentano, wouldn’t it be a good idea to bring up an industrial hemp bill to go along side this bill???
    LEGALIZE IT !!!!!

  5. This is great news. Norml, please make a post right after this happens and fill us in on the details. Wooooohooooo

  6. 21 is far to old of an age restriction for that reason I want this bill to fail. 15 is far more reasonable. Same thing for alcohol. Those with principles contact your representative and let them know why you oppose this unjust meaasure.

  7. If they don’t legalize, it’s ‘cuz Obama called and said no. Vote next time for communists, if you can. It’s a free country lol

  8. Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?
    Woodstock Universe supports legalization of Marijuana for a number of reasons. Check them out and vote in our poll “Should marijuana be legalized?” at
    Current poll results: 96% for legalization and 4% opposed…add your vote. Poll runs through October.
    Peace, love, music, one world,

  9. #56 i assume you dont live in or near massachusetts…. trust me, massachusetts will be one of the first ones to legalize…. we will be having medical marijuana soon if we dont legalize first….. there are more marijuana smokers in mass per capita than california…
    #58 i can only assume you are 15….. the youngest the legal age should be for recreational use is 18. 21 is easier to pass….. someone your age should not be using marijuana recreationally….. however, there should be no age restrictions on medical. you think alcohol age should be 15 too? why dont you concentrate on your schoolwork…. when you pay your dues in school, then you can get fucked up legally… ok?

  10. Hey, George Washington was a cannabis breeder and grower, doesn’t that make cannabis as american as apple pie?

  11. It is about damn time this happens. For far to long politicians have ignored the facts about marijuana (that it truly is less harmful than alcohol) and have based all their decisions on the misinformation propagated by the DEA and other anti drug zealots. It just makes sense in this economy too, the government can tax it just like they tax alcohol. Lets just hope this happens, it would be a giant leap forward for the legalization movement.

  12. 42. Marcus Says: – Yea tell me about it… If you search for news stories as of late that was one of the biggest concerns and complaints they were receiving. Wish I had the news article but I believe it was a med patient and its neighbors complained the smell was like being within feet of a skunk and it attracts skunks!!!
    I frankly dont have a problem with it and love the smell of bud but like I said compromise. If this is their only concern your dang right ill find strains without smell or very little.
    However like I said this has no chance of passing. I hope im wrong, I really do but reality kicks in. This is the same state that past the quarantine law and has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Mass. regulates airsoft guns for crying out loud!
    Cant wait to hear the results.

  13. No updates yet? NORML, please post all information on how it went, the % of for and against,etc. and continue all of your hard work to press this issue, thanks for everything!

  14. I absolutely support any state legalizing, and especially as a resident of MA. The laws have improved now that they decriminalized weed but you can still get busted for distribution or something if it’s over .oz. GO MA!!!

  15. #58 you are out of your mind we have to be reasonable about this if it’s going toi happen. If alcohol is legal at age 21 I’ll be happy if we can legalize weed at 21 as well. Once it’s legalized it will allow ppl t cultivate as well meaning the days of people getting robbed and murdered over weed are over.

  16. 15 yrs old is WAY TOO young an age to start drinking. Or smoking for that matter; whether it’s tobacco or cannabis. I’m a second generation smoker(cannabis ONLY), and my Mom didn’t let me start smoking ’til I was 18. And 18 is STILL too young for some. And if you are a first generation smoker(A.I.; your parents don’t or have never smoked cannabis), then ya might wanna get a lil’ educational info. before ya lite that first Joint. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t think cannabis is dangerous, BUT it always helps if you know a few facts to way over fiction……….so I’ve been told.?

  17. Yes cannabis is as American as Apple Pie. Now just think of the insanity of outlawing Apple Pie. If G. Washinton was here today the DEA would have to arrest him as a criminal. The more you look at this issue the more you realize how insane the whole constructive fraud has been.
    I guess if the founding father was arrested he be depending on his peers to sit on his jury and nullify the law and put this insanity to bed.
    Jury Nullification !!!!!!

  18. Is it just me or are the taxes per ounce still a little high? if this whole thing is going to work, which trust me i want nothing less, the legal prices need to be competitive with what the illegal sales would be. For the high end stuff, the taxes come to 31.25 an 1/8th. That only leaves 30 dollars to be absorbed in growth, manufacture, and transport BEFORE retail. especially with the type of regulation they are enforcing during the manufacturing processes with specialized measurement and packaging. I’m just questioning if the prices will work in favor of the end-user. Let me know what you think

  19. More Breaking News!
    Tonight’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer just noted something about marijuana!
    Sorry, wasn’t paying super close attention.
    Turn it on and tune in!

  20. Ok a few notes about tonight’s News Hour segment on taxing mj in Calif. It was about 5 minutes, maybe a bit longer. They interviewed Rebecca Kaplan (sp?) and Richard Lee. Both noted failure of prohibition and waste of money spent chasing down ever increasing amount of plants while snubbing potential tax dollars.
    Also noted was huge tax increase from $1 per $1K of dispensary revenue to $18 per $1K of revenue, but also noted this tax increase was from mj advocates.
    The prohibitionist was Scott Kirkland of the Police Chief’s Assn. He spoke of “mj abuse” and how it was “more powerful” these days and the “cost to society” for legalizing it would cost more than revenues would bring in, and of course the obligatory “the children.”
    One thing that was a riot, to me, during the interviewers conversation with Kirkland was Kirkland bashing “getting high” then the interviewer asked, “what’s the problem with getting high?” I’d never heard such bold questioning of this aspect of the prohibs boogie man. Kirkland shot back that there would be “lower productivity.”
    So the first thought that comes to mind is someone needs to dig up the history of how cannabis has been used throughout history as productivity enhancer. I know I’ve read accounts of workers, typically physical laborers, were given cannabis as a method to make them work harder/longer. But I can’t recall at the moment where I’ve read them.
    Here’s my take on “The Children.” I’ve begun to analyze that aspect.
    However, no mention of today’s situation in MA. I’ll mention that to them in a letter.
    You can write them too:

  21. Does anyone have an update? I have been searching online all day and have found nothing. I am hoping for a positive outcome along with most of you!!!
    [Paul Armentano responds: Video online here: Boston Herald article online here:

  22. Way to go MA! I really hope they pass it, then ppl like me with felony marijuana charges can actually get a job without being looked down on. I cant even get a fast-food job, mejyer stores will hire sex offenders, but nobody with a drug conviction….thats BS! What is wrong with this world today, Alcohol kills 80,000 Americans a year..and 440,000 Americans die from tobacco use every year. 1.2 million Chinese, 900,000 Indians, 450,000 Russians, 140,000 Germans, 90,000 British die from smoking every year! There has’nt been 1 case of anyone dieing from marijuana use! What is wrong with this picture?

  23. Here it is! Thanks for posting the link Nathan!
    My Report From The Massachusetts Committee on Revenue Hearing for HB2929 (Cannabis Taxation and Regulation) on October 14, 2009
    By Brian Bergeron
    I just returned home from the meeting at the statehouse. It kicked off at 10am and lasted until close to 1. Though there were other bills on the docket, HB2929 received by far the majority of the attention. I’m happy to say that most of it was positive. I don’t know the exact number but I would say that around two-dozen or so people spoke in support of the bill in a manner of a three-minute testimony. Only one person managed to speak in opposition to the bill. He was from Worcester and was part of a public health/safety organization.
    Many of the people that spoke were (and I told them as such) the ‘rock stars’ of marijuana reform. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Keith Stroup, and Jack Cole (of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) who all spoke. Dick Evans, the author of the bill, whom I had worked with leading up to the hearing to drum up support, spoke articulately as well. MassCann and SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) were also well represented with passionate speakers. It was interesting to see the progression of the hearing. My own three-minute testimony had to do with how the prohibition affects so many issues that are important to the country today—health care, underage consumption, hemp as renewable energy, etc. The committee members started off disinterested, but over time I felt that they came around and started asking pertinent questions. Sadly, only half of the committee showed up, so a lot of our argument won’t be verbally relayed (though many people submitted written testimony). The meeting room was full and at its peak there was standing room only so we were well represented.
    In the end, I doubt the measure will pass but it was a great step in the right direction and we will hopefully continue the debate. Mr. Evans felt that this was the largest, most serious legislative discussion for marijuana legalization that he has ever seen or been a part of.
    A huge thank you to everyone who participated today in this big step. Good luck to California! Good luck to Oregon! Good luck to every other state that is trying to decriminalize cannabis, or legalize medical marijuana, and end this fruitless prohibition.
    One thing that stuck out from the meeting is this: Early on, the committee chairman commented that this is the largest group of people who have ever come before him asking to be taxed.
    We’re winning!
    Thank you friends and let me know if you have any questions:
    [Paul Armentano responds: Boston Herald coverage of today’s hearing here:

  24. # 44. Jed The head: You forgot Maui Wowie.
    # 58 miguel carlos: The brain is still forming up to the age of 25. 21 is completely reasonable. is a well organized and well thought out site, nice to see.

  25. You know that when MADD wants to decriminalize MJ, that says something LARGE!
    I’m prayin’ hard. A landmark ruling like this would help MA recover from whatever $$ woes it’s currently feeling – and attract new residents.
    I, for one, would seriously consider leaving a good job with decent bennies here in the midwest, and moving back to MA ONLY if this is passed.

  26. WOW… if I came home from Iraq with the freedom to actually do something that didn’t make me sick, have hangovers, or do incredibly dangerous stuff… that would be amazing. I do get annoyed that I am in my 6th year of being in the military and I am constantly surrounded by hype about loosing certain freedoms. There is a HUGE amount of military members that smoke weed and don’t get caught simply because it doesn’t really mess with their job function too much and they can play the piss test game well 😛
    I personally don’t smoke anymore due to the fact it’s illegal and my son and wife mean way more to me than to risk jail.

  27. Oh… and before anyone says “Well you are military you wouldn’t be able to regardless..” My contract expired not long ago.. I’m just waiting to come home safely with my unit now and then I’m done.

  28. I watched the video. Considering that I am eager for my Dad with Alzheimer’s to use it, I am not keen on the high $$$ of the tax. Like many my folks are on a “fixed income.” He will soon be loosing health insurance I think, given his age (81), and former benefits package.
    He lives in a town in MA that reminds me of what I’ve heard about in CA. The property value tax is insane. For some reason the town they live became popular and the prices for everything have skyrocketed.
    I’m all for using cannabis to help society, but a $300 tax for a $30 bag just boggles my mind. At prices like that, for sure I would be trying to help my parents set up their own grow op.
    Perhaps people think this is a strategy to win over people and perhaps lower the tax later? Ha! Good luck with that one. Think Boston Tea Party.

  29. Give em hell Massachusetts!!
    You can never count out Massachusetts, shes been one of the leaders for liberty her entire existence. Sure glad to see her back in the good fight.. Make us proud Massachusetts, give us liberty.

  30. omg yes!!! please go through with it!!!! i live in ma but i am only 14 but this would be amazing!!! this bill has been around for a while and im so glad they are recognizing it finally!!!!!!!!

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