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House of Representatives Passes Marijuana Update, Enacts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

by Press Release
July 23, 2017

“This bill upholds the will of the voters while working to ensure there are proper rules in place to minimize potentially harmful impacts to public health and safety,” said Rep. Dykema.

House of Representatives Passes Marijuana Update, Enacts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

This week, Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting to update the regulatory framework for the rollout of the recreational marijuana initiative that was approved by the voters in November 2016.

H.3818 creates the Cannabis Control Commission, a regulatory agency tasked with creating rules and regulations for the new industry as well as the licensing process for retailers and for conducting background checks for license applicants. The commission and its advisory board will also study and make recommendations for product safety, driving under the influence, and other public health concerns.

The bill increases the effective tax from the 12 percent rate established by the ballot question to 20 percent, which includes a 3 percent optional excise tax that can be collected by cities and towns where dispensaries are located. It also allows for host agreements guaranteeing the municipality up to 3 percent of gross revenue for up to five years. Medical marijuana remains untaxed, but the bill updates the regulatory structure to ensure consistency between medical and recreational use.

The legislation also creates testing and labeling standards, as well as creates minimum requirements for advertising and marketing designed to limit the ability of distributors to market to youth. Provisions allowing municipalities to restrict local sales have been updated to allow a more streamlined process for towns that voted to oppose legalization. In addition, the bill allows for the growth of industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis, to support economic development in the agricultural sector.

“This bill upholds the will of the voters while working to ensure there are proper rules in place to minimize potentially harmful impacts to public health and safety,” said Rep. Dykema.

The House also unanimously passed a consensus version of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, legislation initially taken up in May and slightly modified by the Senate earlier this summer. The bill, which is supported by civil rights advocates and the business community alike, was passed unanimously by both Houses.

This bill makes it unlawful for employers to deny reasonable accommodations requested by a pregnant employee, and outlaws retaliation or unreasonable conditions related to the provision of accommodations. Accommodations can include longer breaks, seating, relief from performance of physically-intensive or strenuous duties, or provision of private space for lactation or expressing breast milk.  It also forbids employers from firing or refusing to hire pregnant workers on the basis of accommodations they may require.

“Not only does this bill take important steps toward ensuring equal access and representation by working women and mothers, but it also helps strengthen our economy as well by attracting a diverse and talented workforce,” said Rep. Dykema.

These bills will now be delivered to the Governor for his signature.

Rep. Carolyn Dykema has served in the Massachusetts House of Representative since 2009 and represents the residents of the 8th Middlesex District which includes Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough and pct. 2 of Westborough.

 

 

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Comments (1)

"House of Representatives passes marijuana update" is a funny way of telling us she voted for yet another tax increase. Thanks again, Carolyn!

- James Pennypacker | 7/25/17 9:47 PM

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