For years the only way to get marijuana was to grow it at home illegally or buy it on the black market. But today 205 million Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal for either recreational or medical use.
Kristen Hwang, The Desert Sun
BOSTON — Marijuana entrepreneur Jaime Lewis breathed a sigh of relief at the red tape, delays and legislative infighting as Massachusetts lawmakers fiddled with the state’s cannabis legalization plan.
In the haggling, she said she saw progress.
The legislative sausage-making might not have looked or felt like progress. But pot shops are coming: In July 2018, Massachusetts will join a growing number of states where adults can buy, sell and smoke marijuana legally.
“I don’t feel like it’s been that long of a process. But marijuana years are like dog years,” the longtime medical-marijuana and cannabis-edibles provider said.
“I’ve been through this enough times to know that taking the time to get this right in the first place is the right thing to do,” she said. “I know that the devil is in the details.”
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This past fall, Massachusetts voters legalized cannabis, and state lawmakers have spent the time since then tinkering with the specifics. In an unusual move, legislators put the entire legalization process on hold for a year while they tackled the details.
On July 28, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who personally is against legal cannabis, signed a law settling exactly who will be allowed to sell marijuana, what state agency will regulate it, how high the taxes will be and even who gets to hand out the new jobs being created to oversee the industry.
“It’s the worst example of Massachusetts lawmaking,” said Jim Borghesani, who helped lead the ballot initiative and was frustrated with the delays. “In no other state have we seen a delay like this.
“We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system,” he said.
Every state that has legalized recreational marijuana has done it through a voter-approved initiative because legislators remain largely…