Protesters rally as lawmakers debate marijuana law revisions

BOSTON (WHDH) — Protesters staged a rally outside the State House Tuesday in opposition to a new bill that could make changes to the state law legalizing marijuana.

Lawmakers are debating 118 amendments to the law that voters approved last year. Among the proposals are a 28 percent tax rate and changes to the way marijuana shops are banned in communities.

“They haven’t listened to the voters who have spoken back in November,” said Kamani Jefferson.

People at the rally said the new bill also means some cannot take part in selling marijuana at all, such as people who have had past marijuana convictions. Shanel Lindsay, who helped draft the ballot question that legalized marijuana, said that is unfair.

“People who have even had traffic tickets can’t own or be a part of this industry, can’t be employed by it. It’s not what people voted for,” said Lindsay.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) is confident they will make the deadline in passing the law. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) is also confident but said the tax rate needs to be resolved, along with some other changes.

“I think we can bridge the gap and get something to the governor’s desk,” said Rosenberg.

DeLeo said they are looking to change the law because of concerns about public safety and a lack of regulation.

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