By Nina Zdinjak
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a marijuana compromise bill addressing social equity and taxes. The Thursday move comes nearly six years after The Bay State legalized recreational cannabis use.
Senate Bill 3096 is aimed at advancing diversity in the sector and regulating the host community agreement (HCA) between cannabis companies and municipalities. It proposes allocating 15% of the money in the Marijuana Regulation Fund, which is fueled by the state’s cannabis excise tax, various operational fees, and industry penalties to a new Social Equity Trust Fund. The task of the new fund will be to provide grants and loans to people from communities most affected by the drug war who are now interested in joining the cannabis industry.
One part of the bill also offers guidelines on a process for cities to allow on-site marijuana consumption establishments or cannabis cafes.
According to Sonia Chang-Díaz, Senate chair of the Cannabis Policy Committee, the compromise bill “takes on some of the industry’s biggest issues.”
The Republican cover only removed one controversial section from the bill – the proposal to conduct a study on medical marijuana use in students during school days reported State House News. The American Academy of Pediatrics had already expressed its opposition to the proposed study on medical marijuana consumption in schools. No Medical Marijuana In Schools While Sen. Michael Rodrigues, Ways and Means committee chairman and lead Senate conferee, said earlier that the study could help students who would largely benefit from medical cannabis, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) didn’t agree.
“The AAP opposes medical marijuana outside the regulatory process of the US Food and Drug Administration,” an academy spokesperson told the Boston Herald.
The association of pediatricians says there is not enough data on proper dosing and side effects to make a decision.
“There are no research studies on the use of medical marijuana in teens, so actual indications, appropriate dosing, effects, and side effects are unknown. The only data available on medical marijuana in the pediatric population are limited to its use in children with severe refractory seizures,” the organization advised parents.
The governor agreed with the AAP on this proposition, deciding to leave it out of the marijuana compromise bill.