The Massachusetts State Senate quickly passed a bill this morning pushing back the opening of recreational cannabis dispensaries by six months — or until July 2018 — in what would be a major shift in the newly passed law legalizing weed.
The bill, which sailed through an informal session, now moves to the House, where it’s expected to be taken up today. If passed, it would then go to the desk of Gov. Charlie Baker, who would have to sign it before the end of the legislative session early next month for it to go into effect.
The rapid movement follows weeks of talks between legislative leaders, who had voiced concerns about the deadlines established in the ballot question passed last month by voters legalizing marijuana.
The drug officially became legal on Dec. 15, and the bill passed today by the Senate does not change that.
The bill will only delay when marijuana can legally be sold in the state, in effect extending the gray area in which the law currently falls. While people in Massachusetts can legally possess the drug, there isn’t a place in the state where they can legally buy it.