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March 3, 2016

Senate pot committee to publish findings

Antonio Caban/SHNS Rep. David Rogers has testified before the Judiciary Committee encouraging them to take up his bill that would legalize marijuana and establish a tax on cannabis.

A special Senate committee formed to study the possible impacts of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts is poised to release its findings next week.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Sen. Jason Lewis and members of the Special Committee on Marijuana will unveil the report at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday. Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, chaired the committee and led seven of his colleagues on a fact-finding mission to Colorado in January to study the impact legalization had on that state to better understand what challenges Massachusetts could face.

The report will address different policy issues Massachusetts lawmakers could encounter as well as offer recommendations in the event that a ballot question proposing to legalize the drug for those 21 and over makes it to the November ballot and is approved by voters.

Asked about the report Wednesday, Lewis declined to offer specific details, but said the report will recommend specific actions with regard to possession and consumption of marijuana as well as packaging and labeling issues concerning edible forms of the drug.

Upon his return from Colorado, Lewis said highly potent edible forms of marijuana, which can be found in foods like jelly beans, make up nearly half the legalized market in the Centennial State.

"My hope is that the report will help to educate my colleagues in the Senate and the legislature and policymakers in general on the wide range of issues related to the prospect of marijuana legalization and I hope that it will also inform the public debate that is already underway in Massachusetts with the expectation that there's likely to be a marijuana legalization ballot question in November," Lewis told the News Service Wednesday afternoon.

The press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Senate Reading Room.

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