Marijuana debate shifts to Senate after House OKs overhaul

BOSTON (AP) — The debate over the future of Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana law has shifted to the state Senate.

Discussions began Thursday in the chamber just 14 hours after the House voted 126-28 to approve a sweeping overhaul of the voter-approved measure that legalized adult use of marijuana.

Unlike the House, the Senate version of the bill doesn’t repeal and replace the existing law. It would instead keep the law in place with a number of proposed changes in state regulation of recreational and medical marijuana.

The Senate bill holds the tax rate on marijuana sales at a maximum 12 percent, while the House version boosts the tax to 28 percent.

The Senate version also gives voters, and not local officials, the final say on whether to ban pot shops in a community.

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