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Advisory task force set to reform liquor and marijuana laws in Massachusetts

According to a new ballot law, Massachusetts (MA) treasurer Deborah Goldberg has been entrusted with the responsibility to assemble a regulatory body to review the guidelines regarding marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is one of the highest abused drugs in the United States.

In addition to a committee to regulate the laws of marijuana use, Goldberg is also committed to forming a task force for reviewing the laws governing the use of liquor in MA. With this intention, Goldberg has taken the initiative to assemble a seven-member task force to look into the post-prohibition liquor laws in force.

Members of the task force and plausible responsibilities

Chandra Allard, Goldberg’s spokeswoman, revealed the names of this seven-member task force.

  • Kate Cook, who has previously served as the chief legal counsel to former Governor Deval Patrick
  • Rachel Rollins, past chief legal counsel to the port authority of Massachusetts
  • Lisa Wong, former mayor, Fitchburg
  • John Fernandes (selected by the house speaker Robert DeLeo), past Milford state representative who also co-chaired the Judiciary Committee
  • Pete Wilson, press secretary of Senator President Stan Rosenberg
  • An appointee of Governor Charlie Baker – yet to be announced
  • Chairman of the task force – yet to be announced

Goldberg shared that following the revoke of alcohol prohibition in 1933, the liquor laws governing alcohol in the state are up for an extensive review. She added that though the Commonwealth laws have evolved since 1933, most of them are still incoherent and old-fashioned.

She further highlighted that although court laws have made some changes, these changes are yet to become laws or regulations. As a result, there is a lack of an alignment among the businesses, regulators, and consumers, which is necessary for the effective and safe functioning of the system.

As per Boston Globe, the task force will undertake some major steps, such as:

  • Reviewing of the issues suggested by the industry and official experts
  • Extending the operating hours of package stores
  • Relaxing the liquor licensing system of municipalities
  • Facilitating distributor switch for beer-makers
  • Relaxing the regulations pertaining to consumers bringing their own alcohol to restaurants
  • Reusing growlers
  • Enhancing funding for the persistently undermanned Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission
  • Establishing more clarity on the pay-to-play incentives

Task force for marijuana

A three-member Cannabis Control Commission will also be appointed by Goldberg for regularizing the legitimate retail sale of marijuana. Advocates of marijuana legalization stated that they intend to legalize marijuana use in the state just like alcohol.

The advisory task force will be exempted from the open meeting law, however, it will assemble for at least five community comment sessions around the state, as stated by the treasurer’s office. The commission will have to submit a preliminary report within six months from its date of convention.

Road to recovery

Strict guidelines and their stricter enforcement are imperative to keep a check on alcohol and drug-related morbidity and mortality. Nowadays, drinking alcohol and indulging in drugs like marijuana have become a common affair for many.

Alcohol and drug treatment centers in the U.S. can offer help for those addicted to alcohol and drugs. If you or a loved one is addicted to substances, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to discover the options available at various addiction treatment centers. To learn more, chat online with our representatives or call on our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405.

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