Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has signed a new measure that sets in motion a nearly yearlong process to legalize marijuana for recreational use, after months of negotiations with the state legislature.
The law comes nine months after voters in Massachusetts and three other states approved ballot measures to allow recreational marijuana. The first recreational pot shops are set to open in July 2018.
“We appreciate the careful consideration the legislature took to balance input from lawmakers, educators, public safety officials and public health professionals, while honoring the will of the voters regarding the adult use of marijuana,” Baker said in a statement.
The new legislation makes significant changes to the initiative Bay State voters passed last year, increasing sales taxes on legal marijuana from 12 percent to 20 percent. The state will levy a 17 percent tax, while municipalities will issue their own 3 percent tax.