Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker [official website] signed Senate Bill No. 2524 (SB 2524) [materials] on Friday, which will delay part of a voter-approved marijuana legalization initiative [text] by six months. Massachusetts citizens voted 53.7% to approve the “possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana,” with the condition that it would be regulated similar to alcohol. The licensing of cannabis shops was set to begin on January 1, 2018, but SB 2524 moves that date to July 1, 2018. The legislature says the delay is necessary to conduct further surveys regarding patterns of use, incidents of impaired driving and hospitalization, and the economic impact of marijuana legalization. Although the bill delays the retail, “pot shop” aspect of the initiative, other provisions including cultivation, possession and use, became legal [MassLive report] on December 15.
In addition to Massachusetts, California and Nevada also voted [JURIST report] in November to legalize marijuana. In April Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill [JURIST report] legalizing medical marijuana. In February the Utah Senate voted to advance a bill [JURIST report] that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in various forms such as vapor or edible form. Last November New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills [JURIST report] in order to expedite the distribution of medical marijuana to citizens with critical health conditions. Earlier that month New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that would allow for the administering of edible medical marijuana to sick and disabled children on school grounds without triggering the arrests of parents or educators.