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Massachusetts

Massachusetts lawmakers looking to strike unconstitutional Controlled Substances Act

Lawmakers are about to weed out a law that’s overgrown its usefulness. A seldom used and apparently unconstitutional part of the General Laws may soon be stricken, if an outside section of the state Senate’s fiscal 2023 budgets makes it past muster during Tuesday’s debate. “This court concluded that the assessment of the tax on essentially the same activity for which a dealer had received criminal sanctions was punishment prohibited by principles of double jeopardy,” the Supreme Judicial Court wrote in 1998, upholding a tax board’s decision to abate a dealer’s tax liability for their illegal drugs. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Ticker: ‘Borat’ drops suit over pot billboard; Ringling Bros. announces comeback tour, no animals 

Published: May 21, 2022, 12:54 am • Updated: May 21, 2022, 12:55 am By Boston Herald Wire Services Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has dropped his lawsuit against a Massachusetts cannabis dispensary that used an image of his character Borat on a billboard without his permission. A document filed in Boston federal court Tuesday said the two sides have agreed to dismiss the case brought last year by the “Borat” star. The legal filing did not mention any settlement in the case. Emails seeking comment were sent Wednesday to lawyers for Baron Cohen and the dispensary, Somerset-based Solar Therapeutics Inc. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Ticker: FDA moves to ban menthols; Senate stonewalls pot in Granite State

Published: May 3, 2022, 12:57 am • Updated: May 3, 2022, 12:58 am By Boston Herald Wire Services The feds on Thursday moved on a long-awaited plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, citing the toll on Black smokers and young people. “The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. The Food and Drug Administration said eliminating menthol cigarettes could prevent between 300,000 and 650,000 smoking deaths over 40 years. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Pot board chairman sparks concern over his departure

Published: May 3, 2022, 12:54 am • Updated: May 3, 2022, 12:55 am By State House News Service He left in a puff. The Cannabis Control Commission has been without a chairperson for a week as the agency acknowledged Monday that Chairman Steven Hoffman resigned from the job effective April 25. Hoffman’s departure comes about four months before his five-year inaugural term on the body that regulates legal marijuana in Massachusetts was due to expire and almost a year and a half after Hoffman became the only original CCC member left on the panel. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

House lawmakers give weed the green light at the federal level

Lawmakers in Washington late last week passed a bill through the House that would see marijuana declassified at the federal level. “The criminalization of marijuana is inherently racist in its enforcement, unscientific in its foundation, and out of step with public opinion and the law in 18 states,” U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said in a release after the bill’s passage. Called the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) Act, the proposed law would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions, open small business administration funding to pot businesses and authorize a 5% federal tax on marijuana sales. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Massachusetts Senate passes sweeping pot reform bill

The state Senate passed a sweeping cannabis bill that aims to clarify some terms of a ballot initiative first passed by voters in 2016, while promoting equity in the industry. “Unfortunately, many barriers continue to prevent those historically harmed by marijuana prohibition from entering the industry,” said Senate President Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, adding that “guardrails” are now in place for the “Host Community Agreement process.” The bill, championed in part by state senator and gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Díaz, would make several updates to the state’s existing cannabis laws, including a first-in-the-nation social equity program for cannabis entrepreneurs. Currently, only about 7% of cannabis businesses are considered “social equity” businesses, according to the Senate. Read ...

Mike Tyson credits marijuana for improved mental health, introduces line of products in Boston

Published: Mar 16, 2022, 12:54 pm • Updated: Mar 16, 2022, 12:55 pm By Meghan Ottolini Heavyweight champ Mike Tyson’s ever-evolving life has taken an entrepreneurial turn: he’s touting a new line of marijuana products right here in Boston, which he credits with granting him serenity decades after leaving the boxing ring. “It’s put me in a frame of mind where I can be at peace with myself, my family, my dear friends,” Tyson told the Herald. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Massachusetts post office manager seized cocaine to sell it himself, sentenced to prison

A former Massachusetts post office manager who grew up in Quincy was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for intercepting a “brick of cocaine” and other drugs from the mail and selling them himself. “I’m disgraced at my decision to be coerced into doing this and truly am sorry,” Shawn Herron, who was the manager of customer service at the Fall River Post Office, hand wrote in a statement to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General in February 2020. “I’ve been trying to get out of the Fall River Post Office in order to get out of this nonsense and to get a fresh start.” Herron, 47, of Whitman, was sentenced Monday by Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in U.S. District Court in Boston to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release and to forfeit $4,000. On Oct. 22,...

Battenfeld: Maura Healey’s move to the left predictable but clashes with reality

Published: Mar 4, 2022, 11:56 am • Updated: Mar 4, 2022, 11:57 am By Joe Battenfeld Attorney General Maura Healey’s completely predictable move to the left is designed to ward off her liberal Democratic challengers but it clashes with reality and may come with a cost in a general election. Healey is disputing characterizations of her as more “moderate” than her opponents despite the fact that she’s been a hard-core law and order opponent of marijuana legalization and casino gambling, and has praised the job performance of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. “I am a proud progressive,” she told WBUR in an interview this week. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Pot cafes could soon be coming to Massachusetts

Back in 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure that would allow the option for municipalities to bring marijuana cafes, or “social consumption sites,” to town, where people can gather and use cannabis together, Amsterdam-style. Now, over half a decade later, a legislative move has inched the state closer to making them a reality. “The intent of the initiative that was passed by voters was to allow these, dependent upon the vote of the people of a community,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for the 2016 ballot question to bring recreational marijuana to Massachusetts, and a consultant for the cannabis industry. “The legislation is effective in giving towns that voice that they need to determine if they want these or not.” The cafes have not begun popping up in the Bay State ...

Pot cook gets burned: Man seriously injured in Pittsfield hash explosion

A man trying to extract hash oils from marijuana with illegally used flammable gases in a Pittsfield industrial building last month nearly blew himself up. “Cannabis extraction methods that use propane, butane, and similar substances without proper safety precautions are illegal because they’re extremely dangerous,” said state Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey in a statement. “The gases used in these processes are highly flammable. If they accumulate in an enclosed area, the smallest spark can cause a devastating explosion.” The explosion happened Feb. 21 on Keeler Street, according to the release. A survey of the property on online mapping shows it to be one in a cluster of old, brick mill buildings housing various companies. Pittsfield’s city zoning map marks the area, which abuts the tree-li...

Police, driving groups back Baker bill to crack down on drugged driving

With substances like marijuana increasingly playing a role in impaired driving crashes, a string of law enforcement officials and their allies on Tuesday urged lawmakers to expand the tools available to rein in drugged motorists. Police can currently charge drivers with operating under the influence of drugs, but supporters of a bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker say existing state law makes enforcement more difficult than in cases involving alcohol, where Breathalyzers and other tools are common. “We are seeing more and more victim cases come through our office where crashes have involved marijuana and other drugs,” Mary Kate DePamphilis, director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Massachusetts, told the Judiciary Committee. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

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