"THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE took a major step Wednesday toward improving equity in the cannabis industry, passing a bill similar to one previously passed by the Senate that would create a new grant and loan fund for diverse entrepreneurs. The bill would better regulate host community agreements and ease the process of getting marijuana-related criminal records expunged.
Five years after marijuana legislation, Rep. Dan Donahue, House chair of the Committee on Cannabis Policy, said it was time to address some nagging issues. “It is time to revisit the original legislation to provide clarity on the intent of the Legislature and work to ensure we continue to remove barriers to entry to this unique industry for those communities who were disproportionately harmed by the prohibition on marijuana,” he said. "
"The Massachusetts House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to approve major reforms to the state’s marijuana laws, with legislative leaders saying they were implementing changes long demanded by cannabis businesses, activists, and consumers.
The 153-2 vote in favor of the bill, which largely mirrors legislation approved by the state Senate in April, came on the same day regulators announced that total recreational pot sales in Massachusetts have surpassed $3 billion — underscoring the high stakes of any tweaks to the rules governing the industry.
Among other provisions, the changes would allow cities and towns to opt in to hosting marijuana cafés, steer a significant chunk of state pot tax revenue to so-called equity applicants trying to get their small cannabis businesses off the ground, crack down on controversial local fees charged to marijuana operators while easing their state tax burden, and make it easier for former defendants to wipe away old marijuana charges."
|MA House passes cannabis legislation, bill now to Conf Cmte to reconcile with MA Senate version|