Medical marijuana

Debit card payer pulls plug on pot dispensaries

Debit card payer pulls plug on pot dispensaries

Cash only after statement by federal prosecutor begins to chill legal market

THE HARDLINE STANCE from the top federal prosecutor in the state about pot enforcement has caused a company that processes debit transactions for medical marijuana dispensaries to stop accepting the bank cards and forced the shops to revert to cash-only, adding a layer of hardship to patients. Westborough-based Merchant Services Consulting Group (MSCG), which processes(...)

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Sessions turns back pot clock

Sessions turns back pot clock

AG rescinds Obama-era guidance allowing states to legalize marijuana

ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS has thrown the emerging legal marijuana industry into turmoil by rescinding an Obama-era memorandum that ordered the Justice Department to ignore enforcing federal drug laws in states that allowed adult use. Sessions, a longtime opponent of legalizing marijuana who often tied it to the opioid crisis, issued a new guidance that(...)

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Amazon vs. marijuana

Amazon vs. marijuana

Communities throw millions at retail giant while snubbing pot

WHEN A CHICOPEE woman won the record-setting Powerball jackpot in August, lost in the cacophony were the two $1 million winning tickets sold in Dorchester and Watertown. Despite the disappointment of not hitting the big one, neither winner said “no, thanks” to the lesser sums. But that appears to be what’s happening in Massachusetts with(...)

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Islanders want their pot, too

Islanders want their pot, too

Residents urge state commissioners to help them navigate federal obstacles

THE “LISTENING TOUR” by the board charged with regulating the state’s emerging marijuana industry landed on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday, where the two members heard pleas from pro-pot advocates to help their island as well as Nantucket steer clear of the federal obstacles no other communities in Massachusetts face. About 70 people crowded into the West(...)

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Lawmakers reach pot compromise

Lawmakers reach pot compromise

Bill boosts tax up to 20 percent, creates unique mechanism for local control

FIRE UP THE SMOKING lamp. House and Senate negotiators finally reached a compromise on amending the voter-approved law legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts, agreeing to levy a tax of up to 20 percent and approving a different process to implement bans or restrictions based on election results from last November. “Compromise means you get some of what(...)

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Cusack denies retaliation over Lottery move

Cusack denies retaliation over Lottery move

House to vote on pot bill that sets tax rate to 28%

THE HOUSE CHAIR of the Legislature’s marijuana committee denied that his ire at State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg over a potential Lottery headquarters move out of his hometown was connected to his push to remove control of the impending marijuana industry from her office. “It’s not about any one person, but it’s the simple premise that(...)

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House guts voter-approved pot law

House guts voter-approved pot law

Measure overhauls key pieces from tax rate to oversight

THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE will unveil a measure Wednesday that completely overhauls the voter-approved referendum legalizing recreational marijuana while also moving oversight of medical marijuana under the same regulatory umbrella. About the only thing the 48-page bill, a copy of which was obtained by CommonWealth,  leaves in place from the question put before voters last November(...)

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Holyoke’s mayor isn’t afraid of pot

Holyoke’s mayor isn’t afraid of pot

Alex Morse sees potential for urban farming in his old city’s mills

Photographs by Mark Morelli  OUTSIDE HOLYOKE CITY HALL is a stone fountain that once gurgled with water, offering a more wholesome substitute for alcohol to “a thirsty humanity,” as the inscription reads. Erected in 1901, the monument was one of several put up by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union around the country as part of(...)

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Banking on the pot industry

Banking on the pot industry

Conflicts with state laws and federal regulations create anxiety for most banks

AT LEAST ONE Massachusetts bank is offering services to the nascent legal marijuana industry in the state despite uncertainty over federal drug and banking regulations that still classify all pot sales as money-laundering, making it a risky venture both for the businesses and financial institutions. According to marijuana and banking industry officials, family-owned Century Bank(...)

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Pot opponents mislead on costs, local aid threat

Pot opponents mislead on costs, local aid threat

Referendum critics falsely claim Colorado revenues fail to cover regulation expenses

LT. GOV. KARYN POLITO suggested earlier this week that passage of the ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana could lead to a reduction in local aid to pay for regulating the new industry and public safety costs, but there is little evidence to support her claim. At a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission on Tuesday,(...)

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