Tag: Massachusetts

Massachusetts Governor Names Five to Cannabis Advisory Board

Gov. Charlie Baker has picked five people to serve on a Cannabis Advisory Board that will help guide regulators enforce cannabis laws.

The post Massachusetts Governor Names Five to Cannabis Advisory Board appeared first on Leafly.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

A Brief Guide to Massachusetts’ New Cannabis Law

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a sweeping cannabis bill into law on Friday, marking a milestone in a regulatory battle that began when state voters approved an adult-use legalization measure in November.

“I worry terribly about what the consequences over time will be.”

Gov. Charlie Baker

The new law, the result of a legislative compromise struck last week between the House and Senate, rewrites much of the voter-approved initiative—raising allowable tax rates, amending rules around local cannabis bans, and adjusting details of the agency that will oversee the state’s cannabis program.

Even as he signed the bill, Baker, a Republican, expressed doubts about legalization. He said he remains hopeful that the lawmakers’ changes would address some of his biggest concerns.

“I worry terribly about what the consequences over time will be, and having spent a lot of time talking to folks in Colorado and in Washington … there are a lot of pitfalls we have to avoid,” he said.

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“But, look,” he continued, “the people voted this and I think it’s important that we put the program in place and deliver a workable, safe, productive recreational marijuana market for them in Massachusetts.”

Among the biggest changes under the law is the boost in allowable taxes. The voter-approved initiative set maximum rates at 12% in combined state and local taxes. The new law raises that to 20%. Medical cannabis will remain untaxed.

As in many other legal states, local jurisdictions will have the opportunity to ban the cannabis industry. But the process under the new law is unusual: In communities where a majority of residents voted against November’s legalization measure, elected officials can enact a ban themselves. In areas where residents approved the ballot question, a voter referendum would be required to ban or restrict cannabis businesses.

Some legal experts have said that the compromise, which removes the ability of some voters to oppose a ban, could leave the law open to a constitutional challenge.

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Packaging and labeling rules under the new law will require cannabis products to be sold in child-resistant packaging, and THC levels are required to be included on product labels. “We want it to be a responsible industry that sells safe products to consenting adults and doesn’t market products to children and teenagers,” said Democratic Sen. Jason Lewis, who led a delegation of legislators on a fact-finding trip to Colorado last year and later opposed the ballot question.

“We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system.”

Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for 2016 legalization campaign

Shortly after Baker signed the bill, state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, a Democrat, announced her five appointees to the Cannabis Advisory Board. The board will offer advice and recommendations to the yet-to-be-formed Cannabis Control Commission, which will oversee both adult-use and medical programs.

Some of Goldberg’s appointees have experience in the medical cannabis industry. They include:

  • Norton Arbeláez, who founded a medical cannabis center in Denver and advised Colorado state regulators.
  • Alan Balsam, the former director of public health in Brookline, MA, and an adjuct associate professor at Tufts Medical School and Boston University School of Public Health.
  • Michael Dundas, the president and CEO of Massachusetts dispensary Sage Naturals, who helped form the Commonwealth Dispensary Association.
  • Jaime Lewis, the founder of cannabis product manufacturer Mountain Medicine and a founding member of the Cannabis Business Alliance. Formerly the chief operations officer for a Colorado dispensary, she now works at Mayflower Medicinals.
  • Shanel Lindsay, an attorney and legalization advocate. A former law clerk for the Massachusetts superior court, she since founded biotech and medical cannabis company Ardent, where she serves as president.

Baker and Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey must also by next week appoint five members each to the board.

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As for the Cannabis Control Commission, a five-member board that must be formed by Sept. 1, the state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 includes only $2 million to fund the group. Goldberg, responsible for naming the board’s chairman, has said the commission would need up to $10 million in the first year.

“If they need additional resources, they will get additional resources,” Baker said Friday.

Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the ballot question group, found the governor’s pledge reassuring.

“Right now a $2 million appropriation doesn’t even cover the software that’s necessary to get this system up and running,” he said.

In a statement, Borghesani added: “We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

(@MassGovernor via Twitter)

BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today signed the marijuana compromise bill sent to him last week by the Legislature, setting the stage for creation of the regulatory structure to oversee legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts.

“We thank the governor for signing the bill and we urge all of the executive and legislative officials involved in the new regulatory system to make timely appointments and ensure proper funding so legal sales can begin on the timetable set by lawmakers last December,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project and one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign.

Appointments to the Cannabis Advisory Board are to be made by August 1, and appointments to the Cannabis Control Commission are to be made by September 1. The appointments are spread among the governor, the attorney general, and the treasurer.

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg earlier this year submitted a first-year Cannabis Control Commission budget of $10 million, which included a one-time $5.5 million expenditure for seed-to-sale and licensing software necessary to monitor product flow and applicant licensing. The current budget allocates $2 million for the Commission’s first year.

“We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system. The state will benefit greatly from the tax revenues and jobs created by the new industry, and we are confident lawmakers will secure appropriate funding to get the regulatory system up and running on the current timeline,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for the 2016 campaign and the subsequent advocacy effort to defend the law.

After numerous public hearings by the Committee on Marijuana Policy, the House and Senate came out with separate, and very different, bills making changes to the law passed by voters in November.

The House bill repealed and replaced the law, dramatically altering the tax rate, local control, and the application and enforcement provisions. The Senate bill took a far more moderate approach, making few changes to the November ballot law.

After more than 1,000 telephone calls from Massachusetts voters and intense media pressure generated by the Yes on 4 Coalition and the Marijuana Policy Project, the final bill reflected the Senate’s approach more than the House’s.

The compromise bill’s most significant changes relate to local control and taxes. The legislation adjusts the local control policy, allowing local government officials in towns that voted “no” on the 2016 ballot initiative to ban marijuana businesses until December 2019.

For towns that voted “yes” in 2016, any bans must be placed on a local ballot for voters to approve. The maximum sales tax rate (which depends on whether towns adopt optional local taxes) will increase from 12% to 20%.

Under the bill, the state tax will be 17% and the local option will be 3%.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How Activists Turned a Bad Massachusetts Bill Into a Great Law

Op-Ed: Boston-based attorney Shaleen Title is a longtime drug reform advocate and co-founder of the THC Staffing Group. In 2016, she was a co-author of Question 4, the Massachusetts adult-use legalization measure.

Just weeks ago, the fate of cannabis in Massachusetts was completely uncertain.

After voters passed Question 4—adult-use legalization—last November, legislators in Boston took it upon themselves to rewrite the entire regulatory framework.

Legislators nearly sunk the state’s legalization law. Activists helped save it—and kept the industry open to all.

The House passed a bill that undid Question 4, replacing it with a framework that excluded entire populations using broad, vague terms. Diversity provisions were completely absent from that initial bill. The new language would have barred anyone who had interacted with the criminal justice system—as well as their “associates” and “antecedents”—from working in the cannabis industry.

The upshot: If you wanted to start a cannabis business but your cousin once cheated on his taxes, state authorities could deny you the license.

This Is How You Change the Law

A lot of things had to happen quickly to turn the bill around.

After the bill was published, pressure mounted quickly from activist groups that had been watching the process closely. On the morning the bill was scheduled to come up for debate, I joined activists from Equitable Opportunities Now and the Minority Cannabis Business Association to hold a press conference with the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus (MBLC) to highlight questions of fairness, equity, and entry barriers.

With the help of elected officials like Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, we were able to remind state legislators that equity matters to voters. Members of the MBLC and their staff used the recommendations report issued by the Boston City Council, as well as the Minority Cannabis Business Association’s model bill, to help develop its amendments focused on racial equity.

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Rep. Dave Rogers was able to get seven amendments, an unusually high number, into the final version of the House bill, including restoring protections for parents who legally use cannabis. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Sen. Linda Forry went even further in the Senate bill, with priority review for applicants who demonstrate experience with economic empowerment for communities. 

Meanwhile, our coalition used the network we had built over the previous several months to encourage people to call their representatives and senators to demand that no one with a marijuana conviction be excluded.

Our strategy was not just to call the six conference committee members negotiating the bill, but also to call our own representatives and senators and ask them to write or call their colleagues on the conference committee and pass on the message that their constituents felt strongly about the equity elements of the bill. We kept calling every day until the staffers told us that action was being taken.

Those actions are reflected in the compromise legislation that now sits on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.

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The New, Better Version

Here’s what’s new and improved in Massachusetts’ cannabis framework (assuming Gov. Baker signs the bill):

  • No one will be disqualified from owning or working in a cannabis business due to a past marijuana-related offense, unless it involved distribution to a minor.
  • Massachusetts residents with a marijuana possession charge in their past will be eligible to have their records sealed.
  • A public awareness campaign will make people aware of the opportunity to seal past marijuana possession charges.
  • Funds from tax revenues, licensing fees and application fees will go toward programs focused on restorative justice, jail diversion, workforce development and services for economically disadvantaged people in communities hit the hardest by the war on drugs.

Securing these provisions was a major victory. We cannot undo the harm caused by the war on drugs unless the people who were fined, arrested and incarcerated for drug offenses are allowed to join in the economic boon of legalization.

Sealing past marijuana charges will help reduce the ripple effects from the war on drugs, because the previously incarcerated frequently have trouble finding work due to their criminal record. This provision makes it easier for these people to receive a fresh start.

Dedicating funds from state cannabis-related revenues toward programs focused on restorative justice, jail diversion, workforce development and services was also important. After decades of incarceration practices that had a deeply destructive impact on communities of color, it is incredibly refreshing to have legislators who don’t just create laws geared toward change, but back it up with funding for initiatives that start to heal the damage.

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More Improvements to Come

While much has been defined, there are still plenty more details to be ironed out in Massachusetts’ adult-use cannabis system, and this will fall to the five-member Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and a 25-member advisory board. Under the new legislation, the CCC will include a member with a background in legal, policy or social justice issues in a regulated industry. The advisory board will include experts in minority business development and ownership, social justice, and economic development strategies for under-resourced communities, the mitigation of the harms of the drug war. It will also include the executive director of the Massachusetts ACLU.

There is one more major set of provisions in the compromise legislation, and these relate to data collection. There is an implicit acknowledgment that this legislation and what the CCC comes up with might not answer every issue in the marijuana industry. By studying this new field of business as it evolves, the CCC can take future steps to create a diverse marijuana industry in our state.

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The CCC will collect data on the total number of cannabis retailers and how many are owned by women, minorities and veterans. If the commission finds barriers to entry for any of these groups, it will adopt diversity licensing goals to spur substantial and meaningful participation in the industry by these groups. The inclusion of this and other diversity measures in the bill is the culmination of powerful advocacy done by a broad coalition.

The result: The Massachusetts adult-use program averted disaster, and is now arguably the most progressive legalization framework in the country.

As more states look to legalize, they can look to Massachusetts as a model of social and racial justice in legalization. There is much more work ahead as we begin the implementation phase; follow Equitable Opportunities Now to join the movement.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Cannabis Overhaul Could Prompt Legal Challenge

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to sign a cannabis overhaul bill that the state Legislature sent to his desk on Thursday, but one Republican lawmaker is already warning that one of the bill’s provisions could invite a lawsuit.

The bill, H.3818, would effectively repeal and replace the law that voters passed in November to legalize adult-use cannabis. Cannabis would still be legal for adults 21 and older, but with new regulatory tweaks. The legislation would set a higher cannabis tax than what voters approved, merge government oversight of medical and adult-use systems, impose restrictions on advertising and change how cities and towns can ban retail cannabis stores and other facilities.

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Sens. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Linda Dorcena Forry tweeted this short video to explain the impact of the measure:

The bill’s approval marks a milestone for lawmakers, who have been at loggerheads for weeks over cannabis regulations and only recently struck a compromise.

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Even that compromise may not stand, though. According to the state Senate’s top Republican, Sen. Bruce E. Tarr of Gloucester, changes to how cities and counties ban cannabis facilities would set a “very dangerous precedent” and could spark a legal challenge.

“A group of people in Massachusetts will have their right to vote extinguished.”

Sen. Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester)

Under the law passed by voters in November, local voters were given the option of banning or otherwise restricting cannabis in their respective city or town. The Legislature’s new bill takes some of that control away from voters and puts it in the hands of elected officials.

Specifically, in municipalities that voted in favor of legalization, a vote would still be required to ban or severely limit cannabis businesses. But in cities and towns that voted against the measure, local officials could enact limits themselves.

“A group of people in Massachusetts will have their right to vote extinguished by virtue of the way they voted on a ballot question,” Tarr said on the Senate floor (“with incredulity,” according to the Boston Globe).

Tarr warned that by disenfranchising those voters, lawmakers could risk a constitutional challenge down the road that could potentially lead to “the incapacitation of this lawsuit.”

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Outside lawyers have reportedly questioned whether the provision might violate guarantees of equal protection of the law but that wasn’t enough to sway most lawmakers. Sen. William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), dismissed the worries as “nonsense.”

A spokeswoman for the governor has said that Baker “appreciates the Legislature’s work on this bill and will carefully review it in the coming days.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Lawmakers Agree on Question 4 Implementation Measure

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts House and Senate leaders have reconciled a pair of bills seeking to amend Question 4 – a voter-approved measure regulating the licensed production and sale of marijuana.

The compromise bill raises the maximum tax rate that can be imposed on commercial cannabis transactions from 12 percent to 20 percent. Medical marijuana retail sales will not be subject to taxation under the new plan.

The revised bill limits the ability of local communities to ban retail facilities if a majority of voters approved Question 4, but it makes it easier for communities to do so if they opposed the initiative.

Lawmakers also agreed to expand patients’ access to medicinal cannabis by permitting nurses and physician assistants the ability to recommend cannabis therapy.

The revised measure now goes to Gov. Charlie Baker who is expected to sign it into law.

In January, Gov. Baker signed legislation into law delaying the timeline for the implementation of retail cannabis sales from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2018.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts House and Senate Reach Compromise on Marijuana Legalization Implementation Bill

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA – After weeks of talks and missed deadlines, legislators in Massachusetts have reached an agreement on legislation that will make changes to Question 4, the law to regulate marijuana for adults that was approved by voters in November 2016.

“After weeks of intense advocacy from Massachusetts voters, legislators have decided to respect the will of the people,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project and one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign. “We are relieved that the legislature has dropped the House’s ‘repeal and replace’ bill introduced last month, which would have made damaging changes to the law.”

The compromise bill’s most significant changes relate to local control and taxes. The legislation adjusts the local control policy, allowing local government officials in towns that voted “no” on the 2016 ballot initiative to ban marijuana businesses until December 2019. For towns that voted “yes” in 2016, any bans must be placed on a local ballot for voters to approve.

The maximum sales tax rate (which depends on whether towns adopt optional local taxes) will increase from 12% to 20%. Under the bill, the state tax will be 17% and the local option will be 3%.

“The law passed by voters was well-crafted and required no alteration,” said Schweich. “However, we respect the need for compromise, and while we don’t approve of every provision of this bill, we are satisfied that the outcome will serve the interests of Massachusetts residents and allow the Commonwealth to displace the unregulated marijuana market with a system of taxation and regulation.”

Last month, the House and Senate passed very different implementation bills before beginning negotiations to resolve their differences.

Massachusetts residents made over 1,000 telephone calls to their lawmakers urging rejection of the House approach, while advocacy organizations put additional pressure on the legislature.

“We commend the Senate for holding the line on a number of important issues,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for the 2016 Yes on 4 campaign and the subsequent advocacy effort to defend the law. “Now it’s time to provide funding that will allow the regulators to establish the rules that will govern marijuana cultivation and sales.”

The progress in Massachusetts will likely add momentum to regional efforts across New England to tax and regulate marijuana for adults.

“Maine is in the process of implementing its marijuana regulation law passed by voters, while legislators in Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut all seriously considered bills to make marijuana legal for adults this year,” said Schweich. “The fact that marijuana sales will begin in Massachusetts in just one year will place added pressure on Rhode Island in particular. If legislators fail to take action, the Ocean State will soon be senselessly forfeiting significant and sorely-needed tax revenue to its neighbor.”

On July 1, Nevada became the fifth state in the nation to establish a regulated marijuana market for adults. Regulated marijuana sales are set to begin in Massachusetts in July 2018.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

You Can’t Fire Cannabis Patients Just for Using Cannabis, Massachusetts High Court Rules

In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Monday said that employees can’t be fired simply for using medical cannabis. Such terminations, the court said, violate state antidiscrimination rules.

“I can’t stress this enough, it’s the first case of its kind in the country.”

Dale Deitchler, employment lawyer

The opinion came as a shock to many, as every other state to consider the issue has decided that employers may indeed fire workers who test positive for cannabis—even if those employees are abiding by state law. In Colorado, for example, the state Supreme Court in 2015 held that a state law barring employers from firing workers for legal, off-duty behavior didn’t apply because cannabis is still illegal under federal law. California, Washington, Montana, and others have issued similar rulings.

In Massachusetts, it’s now a different story.

“I can’t stress this enough, it’s the first case of its kind in the country,” Dale Deitchler, an employment attorney and expert on cannabis in the workplace, told MassLive. “The court created law.”

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While the opinion could be a game-changer for medical cannabis patients, it’s far from an endorsement of on-the-job consumption. Employees can still be fired for using cannabis before or during work, or for failing a drug test if consumption isn’t part of a doctor-approved medical treatment. And workers with safety-sensitive jobs, such as pilots, truck drivers, and others, can still lose their jobs if they test positive for cannabis.

For patients like plaintiff Cristina Barbuto, however, the new precedent means no longer having to decide between medicine and employment.

Barbuto, a state-legal medical cannabis patient, was offered a job at Advantage Sales and Marketing (ASM) in 2014. When the company said she’d need to take a mandatory drug test, she replied that she would test positive for cannabis because she uses it to treat her Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disorder. (About 40% of all US workers are subjected to drug tests during the hiring process.)

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According to court records, Barbuto consumes cannabis two or three times per week, usually in the evenings, to help stimulate appetite and maintain a healthy weight. She assured ASM she wouldn’t consume either before or during her workday.

At first, Barbuto’s supervisor told her that her medical use of cannabis “should not be a problem,” the court opinion says. He later called her to confirm the same. But after Barbuto submitted a urine sample and completed her first day of work, an ASM human resources representative informed her that she’d been terminated for testing positive for cannabis.

“We follow federal law, not state law,” the representative said, according to court records.

Barbuto filed suit.

Don’t assume the ruling means you can wake and bake before tomorrow’s commute.

In Monday’s decision, the state’s high court concluded that the matter essentially boiled down to whether allowing Barbuto’s offsite cannabis use constituted a reasonable accommodation for her medical condition.

“An employee’s use of medical marijuana under these circumstances is not facially unreasonable as an accommodation of her handicap,” justices concluded, meaning cannabis use shouldn’t inherently be out-of-bounds for employees with debilitating conditions. Despite that fact, “it does not necessarily mean that the employee will prevail in proving handicap discrimination,” the court wrote. The question is whether accommodating an employee’s medical cannabis use “would create undue hardship” on an employer.

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The court gives some examples. An employer might demonstrate that allowing cannabis use would create an “unacceptably significant” safety risk to the public, the employee, or coworkers. Or the employer could show that cannabis use “would violate an employer’s contractual or statutory obligation, and thereby jeopardize its ability to perform its business.” Transportation companies, for instance, are subject to US Department of Transportation rules that disallow accommodations for cannabis.

The upshot? Don’t assume that Monday’s ruling means you can wake and bake before tomorrow’s commute. But if you’re a law-abiding Massachusetts medical patient who only consumes outside of work and doesn’t show up impaired, the state’s highest court is now on your side.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts High Court: Patient Fired for Medical Marijuana Use Can Sue for Discrimination

BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts’ highest court ruled on Monday that a medical marijuana patient could sue her former employer for discrimination after being fired for testing positive for the substance in a drug test.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the argument made by Advantage Sales and Marketing that the patient, Christina Barbuto, could not sue for discrimination because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even though it is authorized in Massachusetts.

According to attorneys, Barbuto was fired after her first day on the job because she tested positive for marijuana, for which she was an authorized patient under Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program.

Barbuto’s doctor had certified her for medical marijuana use as an appetite stimulant.  Barbuto suffers from Chron’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, and suffers from a loss of appetite as a side effect of the two ailments.

In the unanimous 6-0 decision, the court ruled that if a doctor determines that medical marijuana is the most effective treatment for a debilitating condition, employers must make an exemption to their drug policy to provide “reasonable accommodation” to the employee.

“The fact that the employee’s possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation,” Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote in the decision.

The court noted that while marijuana is still illegal under federal law, only the employee, not the company, would be at risk for prosecution under federal law for her marijuana use.

“This is the highest court in Massachusetts recognizing that the use of medically prescribed marijuana is just as lawful as the use of any prescribed medication,” said attorney Matthew Fogelman, who represented Barbuto.

Medical marijuana has been authorized in Massachusetts since a 2012 voter approved referendum.  In 2016, voters went one step further, legalizing the adult use of marijuana for anyone 21 years old or older.  Marijuana possession is a decriminalized civil offense for those under 21 who do not possess a medical marijuana authorization.

Medical marijuana advocates hailed the decision, saying the ruling represents a major win for patients rights and could set a precedent for those in other states where medical marijuana is authorized under state law.

“Patients should never have to choose between their heath and their job and for the first time, a court has acknowledged that they shouldn’t have to,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said.

“It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions begin to apply this same rationale to patients as well as to all adults who are using cannabis responsibly off-the-job in compliance with the laws of their states.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Lawmakers Reach Marijuana Compromise; Tax Raised to 20%

BOSTON, MA — After weeks of closed-door negotiations, lawmakers in Massachusetts have reached a compromise on changes to the voter-approved law that legalized marijuana in the Bay State.

The changes still need to be ratified by members of both chambers of the state legislature, which is expected later this week.

Instead of a repeal-and-replace bill proposed by the House, the compromise bill reflects an “amend and improve” approach favored by the Senate.

Much of the original ballot measure will remain intact, with the most noticeable change being the tax imposed on retail marijuana sales.

While the changes to the legalization law are not as drastic as originally proposed by the House, the tax rate on recreational cannabis will be raised significantly.

As approved by voters, retail sales of marijuana would be subject to a 3.75% statewide excise tax, combined with the 6.25% state sales tax, making the statewide tax 10%. Local communities were given the option to impose an additional two percent local tax, making the total maximum tax 12%.

The House sought to impose stiff taxes that would have raised this to a 28% minimum tax.

The compromise bill will instead raise the excise tax on marijuana from 3.75% to 10.75%, which will be added on to the state 6.25% sales tax, making the statewide marijuana tax 17%.

The compromise also increases the local tax option from two to three percent, making the statewide maximum tax 20%.

Lawmakers also compromised on the dispute over who has the right to ban or restrict marijuana related businesses. In cities in towns where a majority of voters supported Question 4, a referendum would be required to pass zoning restrictions or ban businesses.

But in the 91 municipalities in the state where a majority of residents voted against the ballot question, a referendum would not be necessary. Instead, a vote by the board of the selectmen or city council could ban marijuana retailers.

Other notable changes in the compromise bill include a provision raising the amount of decriminalized marijuana for minors under 21 from one to two ounces.

The compromise bill also makes cultivation by minors under 21 a civil offense, rather than a criminal one.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.