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What you need to know about Mass. marijuana legalization

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Medical marijuana from the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary in Salem. The bottle pictures held about 7 grams of pot.Jonathan Wiggs

Massachusetts approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Here's what you need to know:

Will this measure really make marijuana legal?

Yes. Question 4 will legalize marijuana for adult (21+) recreational use on Dec. 15 and set a January 2018 time frame for stores to start selling legal weed. Residents will be able to grow up to 12 marijuana plants per household. Public consumption of marijuana will remain illegal. So will driving high.

What were the main arguments for and against?

Proponents argued it would divert money from criminal syndicates to companies operating on the up-and-up that check IDs and are supervised by government inspectors. And they said that legalization would end more than a century of failed prohibition that has ensnared otherwise law-abiding citizens in the criminal justice system. Opponents insisted legal marijuana will harm kids, families, and communities. And they worried the legal market — in particular, pot-infused soda, candy and cookies — will boost the accessibility of marijuana for youth and increase the perception among kids that marijuana is safe.


Will my community have a say about pot shops?

You bet. Your elected representatives can call a referendum, and voters can decide whether or not to ban recreational marijuana businesses. But unlike in Colorado, where communities had to opt in to welcome marijuana businesses, the Massachusetts ballot question will require local voters to opt out of having any marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, and product manufacturers in their city or town.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos and subscribe to his weekday e-mail update on politics at bostonglobe.com/politicalhappyhour