Rep Says State Is Moving Too Fast With Recreational Marijuana
WORCESTER, MA — Massachusetts is on pace to begin legal, recreational marijuana sales without a way to test for impaired drivers or with clear-cut rules on liability and security for businesses that want to sell marijuana and THC-infused edibles, according to a state representative. Rep. James Miceli (D-Wilmington), who represents Wilmington and Tewksbury and sits on the Ways and Means Committee, made his comments following the committee’s kickoff for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget review of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security in Worcester.
“They are moving too fast, and there aren’t any checks and balances that will ensure patrons leaving them are sober and able to get home safely like we have available with regular bars,” Miceli. said.
Daniel Bennett, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, echoed Miceli’s concerns and said Gov. Charlie Baker and Speaker Robert DeLeo had raised similar reservations. Bennett noted that unlike bars that serve alcohol, it will be difficult for employees at establishments that allow on-site marijuana consumption to “cut off” a patron who has had too much.
“We do not have a way to check the sobriety of a driver, beyond an experimental test that involves drawing blood,” Bennett said.
The state is working to draft rules regulating recreational marijuana sales, while municipalities are considering whether or not to allow the sale within their jurisdiction. Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure that legalized sale of recreational marijuana sales in 2016.
In Colorado, which began allowing recreational marijuana sales in 2014, a driver is considered impaired if he or she has five or more nanograms of THC in his or her system. The state now has more marijuana shops than Starbucks outlets, but Colorado has yet to develop a test that is reliable and cost effective. A cottage industry of defense attorneys