Roadblock for Legalization

After passing recreational marijuana on November 8th, Massachusetts’s citizens eager to get started may have to wait a little bit longer.

Last week the Boston Globe reported that legislature is considering delaying weed stores opening date until mid-2018, rather than January 2018 as listed in the ballot measure that almost 1.8 million people voted for. However, according to the Globe, some are saying this would not give adequate time to regulators to prepare proper oversight. Also mentioned is delaying home growing, which according to the bill voters approved, should be legal December 15th.

However, Richard Evans (who has been pushing for legal weed for over 4 decades), doesn’t see their concerns as valid. According to him, Colorado managed to do the same thing in the same amount of time that Massachusetts officials have.

“We have a law that we have to implement, and it’s the will of the voters,” the Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said to reporters. “I’m going to be meeting with some of the proponents over the next week to have that conversation to assure them that we hear the voters voted. We want to work with them because we’re going to need to make some changes in the law. But we’re going to respect the principle here, which is: The voters have spoken.”

Should no progress be made before Dec. 15th (something that wouldn’t be unheard of in government, even state-government), then home growing can continue as before. For people who have wanted this for a while (40+ years in Evans’ case), this delay can be seen as another push to stop legalization all together. However, as Rosenberg said, the voters have spoken.

Charter School Problems

One of my earlier posts was regarding Massachusetts’s Question 2 ballot question lifting the charter school cap to allow another 12 schools. Initially many expected this to pass without an issue, however the tide quickly turned and create a close race.

I also spoke a bit to the amount of money being spent both for and against this question. Many big players have donated like Shari Redstone, Partners Healthcare, and Kraft Group, among others. Now, teacher’s unions want authorities to investigate donations stemming from hedge fund managers for the pro-charter school side.

The unions say that these donations are the manager’s way to get around the law than bans finance and securities execs who deal with public pension funds from donating to political figures who oversee these public funds.

“Retirees need to know that investment decisions are being made based on their financial security, not to curry favor with Governor Baker and his pension board appointees,’’ said Tom Gosnell, president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts told the Globe. Since the money is going towards a ballot question however, this doesn’t violate the law.

Baker is in favor of lifting the charter school cap.

While it’s unlikely anything will come out of this since there are no broken laws, it’s hard to not view this allegation in a negative light for the teacher’s unions. Polls show voters are split 45 percent/45 percent, with 9 percent undecided. It looks like a last-ditch effort for their cause, and a bad one at that.