Marijuana Retail Shops Delays, More Changes to Come

In December 2016, the Massachusetts legislature voted to delay by six months the January 2018 open date for recreational marijuana retail shops in Massachusetts. The purpose of the delay is to give the state more time to prepare for implementation and regulation of the new industry. The legislature is considering more changes to the marijuana law, including a possible reduction in the amount of home grown plants allowed. Hearings on the potential changes to the marijuana law are expected to be held later this winter. In the coming months, MPHA and our partners will be working to urge the legislature to include necessary public health protections and to address health and economic equity while also honoring the will of the voters.

MPHA has previously expressed concerns about lack of adequate public health protections in the law including:

  • Harm to small children and young adults from marijuana ‘edibles’ which can be mistaken for candy and other foods attractive to children
  • Aggressive advertising and promotional tactics that target vulnerable residents
  • Likely insufficient revenue generated to guarantee that the costs of regulation and oversight on the new industry will be covered
  • Lack of investment in youth prevention


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