Pro-Legalization Legislators Knew about That Marijuana Delay Vote

They were told about the move ahead of time, but let it happen.

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Lawmakers’ speedy and secretive vote to push back parts of the marijuana law by six months didn’t come without warning. Many of the state’s pro-pot senators were alerted ahead of time about the lightly attended informal session last week that delayed the opening of pot shops to mid-2018, but decided to let it slide.

Commonwealth reports that Sens. William Brownsberger, Jamie Eldridge, and Patricia Jehlen—who support legalization—all knew about the vote and chose not to intervene.

Any one of them could have blocked it, as informal sessions require unanimous support to pass legislation. A handful of lawmakers were able to pass the delay over the holidays.

But Brownsberger argues the delay would eventually be taken up at the State House in formal sessions anyway, and there are other fights worth having in the coming months. He plans to oppose raising the tax on the drug and oppose regulation that makes it too onerous to open a retail store, he says.

“While I am disappointed by the vote yesterday to delay the roll-out by six months, I accept it as a reasonable accommodation to reality in the circumstances,” he writes on his website.

And, as he tells Commonwealth, “[Y]ou have to pick your battles.”

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, the highest-ranking of the pro-pot contingent on Beacon Hill, has already said he supports the delay as a way to provide more time to tweak the law and set up a regulatory framework for the new industry.

It’s still legal to grow, possess, and use (but not sell) cannabis in Massachusetts as of December 15.