Marijuana to be legal Thursday in Massachusetts
Tokers of the Commonwealth, rejoice.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin warned last week that the measure legalizing marijuana might have to be delayed, but now says that won’t be necessary.
Galvin’s office said Friday he will submit official results of the voter-passed legalization measure to the Governor’s Council Wednesday for certification. Barring any unforeseen snafu — or dramatic intervention by the Legislature to undo the will of the voters — possessing, using, and growing marijuana at home will become legal on Thursday.
Advocates, who were rankled by Galvin floating the possibility of a delay, exulted.
“This closes the door on an era that was marked by hysteria, by injustices, and by ineffective public policy,” said Jim Borghesani, who helped lead the legalization effort. “This opens up an era that may take a bit of getting used to, but as in many other social transformations, people will look back and say: What were we so worried about?”
The initiative, approved by more than 1.7 million voters on Nov. 8, allows adults 21 years and older to possess, use, and purchase 1 ounce or less of marijuana, beginning on Thursday.
But there will be limits on where Massachusetts residents can light up or eat a pot brownie. Using marijuana will remain prohibited in public places. And it will be a violation of the law to smoke marijuana where smoking tobacco is prohibited: in workplaces, bars, or museums, on the T, or in myriad other spots.
Starting Thursday, people can possess up to 10 ounces of the drug in their primary residence, and grow up to 12 plants per household.
Marijuana accessories — bongs, pipes, growing lamps, etc. — will also become legal for purchase and sale on Thursday. Accessories are defined by the ballot measure as equipment, products, and devices of any kind that are intended or designed for use in growing, storing, processing, ingesting, and inhaling marijuana.
But retail stores won’t be able to start selling the drug for recreational use until January 2018.
And lawmakers are discussing delaying that date to allow more time to create a regulatory framework for the new industry.
But Borghesani, the legalization backer, said he and other advocates “hope there are no delays in the future timelines.”
Marijuana has been illegal in Massachusetts for more than a century and, on Nov. 8, voters swept away the long reign of prohibition, 54 percent to 46 percent, according to unofficial results.
Still, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And some fear the administration of Donald Trump will crack down on the nascent industry after he takes office on Jan. 20.
As one BostonGlobe.com commenter wrote, “Legal weed 12/15/2016 — 1/20/2017. RIP.”