Legalisation in Massachusetts is finally a reality.
But how are parents supposed to be aware of the new rules?
As the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, Massachusetts was not without its issues, as many parents are understandably hesitant about letting their children use pot in public.
But a recent report by the Massachusetts Marijuana Policy Project and the Massachusetts Office of Public Health, which were the first to take the plunge, has made strides to make pot safer for children.
Massachusetts will become the 23rd state to regulate marijuana, with the first licenses set to be issued on March 20, 2018.
The Massachusetts Office for Public Health will issue the first permits on March 15, 2018, while the state Department of Public Safety and Security will issue licenses on March 18, 2018 and the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will issue permits on April 2, 2018 for the state’s adult-use retail stores.
The Department of Administration will issue more licenses on April 3, 2018; the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will issue 10 licenses and the State Police will issue eight licenses on the same day.
While the licensing process is expected to be lengthy, the Office of Administration and Public Health have already received some feedback on how to best handle the situation.
“We were told that if they are not licensed, you have to go through an extra layer of oversight,” said Ed Cagle, director of public health and health services for the Office for Administration and Health.
“We also have been told that you should look at the potential for the kids to get into trouble if they use marijuana.”
The Office for Health, the department responsible for managing marijuana dispensaries, will be responsible for determining what is safe for kids, which means it will have to consider the effects on young people and the effects of marijuana on the developing brain.
“If it is a recreational use of marijuana, it can be a problem for kids.
So there will be a whole different set of questions that will be asked about that,” said John Regan, director for the Department for Mental Health.
Regan said the Department will be able to assess a number of things, including whether the child has used cannabis before, if they have an addiction to the drug and if they’ve been in contact with others who have used marijuana.
“The thing is, it’s all going to be up to the parent and the kid to determine,” Regan said.
“What are they thinking, what are they experiencing, what is their tolerance?
And if they can’t handle that, they should be told what they’re supposed to do and how they can help themselves.”
The Department for Children and Families will also be responsible.
The agency will determine what is legal and what is not.
While Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to implement adult-care marijuana, Regan noted that it is not the only state to do so.
Colorado, Washington and Alaska are also considering similar changes.
The Department of Agriculture has also said it will regulate adult-cannabis sales.
“There are many states that are trying to do this.
Some states are doing it more aggressively, some states are experimenting with it, and some states have been experimenting,” said Cagle.
“And in a lot of cases, it will be very difficult to make that happen, and we will have more opportunities to work with the states that have passed similar laws.”
The office for the Massachusetts Department of Government is responsible for licensing and supervising the adult-shop business.
“I think it’s a huge success,” said Regan.
“It’s a positive step.
It’s a step that should be taken in all jurisdictions.”
The new law, which goes into effect on March 21, is expected for many adults to start selling marijuana to younger people.