Speaker: Suspend pot negotiations until budget plan approved

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Speaker Robert DeLeo is asking House members working to negotiate a compromise marijuana bill to suspend their talks until a final state budget is approved and sent to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.

DeLeo issued the statement Wednesday, saying it’s important to get the budget bill wrapped up for the fiscal year that began July 1. He said he believes lawmakers can get a budget to Baker this week.

DeLeo said Massachusetts is widely regarded as being fiscally responsible and a key reason for its consistently high bond ratings has been the commitment to balanced, on-time spending plans.

The Democratic speaker said ongoing negotiations on a final budget and final marijuana bill have never been linked by the House.

Negotiations on both bills are taking place behind closed doors.

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