Eight senators from Massachusetts are entering Colorado this week in order to study the life in an environment that has already legalized cannabis, in the case Massachusetts’s population decides to do the same in November. By studying the life there, lawmakers will be prepared to respond accordingly.

At the moment, their plans include going to a growing facility, a marijuana dispensary, “and pepper top state, municipal, and law-enforcement officials with questions about the implementation of the voter-approved law.” The trip is going to last four days and is being funded by the New York-based Milbank Memorial Fund, which is a nonpartisan health policy foundation.

As lawmakers usually travel to teach themselves about the issues of importation, the context for the trip to Colorado is rather unique; leaders of Beacon Hill have made it very apparent that there is no political interest to allow a legalization law. However, they have indicated that they would consider one if a proposal would receive enough signatures and was voted for.

Jason M. Lewis, senator, chairman of the special Senate committee on cannabis and leader of the visit, stated that if voters were to approve of the proposal, the Legislature may decide to pass laws to tackles some issues that the original referendum does not. For instance, driving under the influence is still not addressed properly.
“There may also be particular provisions in the ballot question where lawmakers have concerns,” Lewis said, “and may want to, at least, debate a different approach.”

“What we’re contemplating here is a major change in social policy for Massachusetts,” he added, talking about public health, safety, and the making of a new industry. However, he mentioned, he would not consider any moves by lawmakers the will of the population, but rather concerned with the movement of the entire state in terms of legalization.

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