Belmont State Rep. Rogers Co-Sponsors Bill Legalizing Pot in Bay State

Photo: State Rep. Dave Rogers.

For many Bay State residents, it is high time for Massachusetts to follow the lead of states and make marijuana legal.

Belmont’s State Rep. Dave Rogers has heard your pleas.

Rogers, who represents the 24th Middlesex (“ABC”) district including Belmont and precincts in Arlington and Cambridge, and State Sen. Pat Jehlen of Somerville filed a bill (H. 1561) today, Friday, March 13, to¬†legalize, regulate and tax cannabis like alcohol. The bill has 13 co-sponsors.

Under the bill, adults over the age of 21 will be allowed to possess and grow a limited amount of marijuana, joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska where marijuana is legal for recreational use.

Massachusetts passed a medical marijuana

The legislation is being pushed by the Marijuana Policy Project which is preparing to place a question on the 2016 Massachusetts general election ballot if this bill fails to pass in the current legislative year.

Rogers and Jehlen consider a ballot question “too blunt of an instrument to establish the complex system necessary to legalize marijuana in a transparent, responsible, and safe manner,” said Jehlen.

Legislation will “allow a full and open legislative debate on this subject, providing an opportunity for policymakers to receive input from a wide variety of stakeholders,” she said.

Last year, State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg created a special committee to investigate how and if the state should legalize marijuana, establishing a structure for the legislature to examine the issue in depth.

“If marijuana is going to be legalized in Massachusetts, we should craft the law properly through an open and deliberative legislative process,” said Jehlen.

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