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Legalization 2.0: Massachusetts Senate approves overhaul of marijuana laws

If signed into law, the package of changes approved by the Senate would eventually allow licensed cannabis cafes to open in a handful of volunteer communities.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, who has pushed for reforms to the state's marijuana laws, walks into the Senate Chambers with Senate President Karen E. Spilka in this 2020 file photo.


The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday unanimously approved the most significant changes to the state’s marijuana laws since legalization was implemented in 2017.

The package of reforms would crack down on excessive fees charged by municipalities to licensed marijuana operators, clear the way for cities and towns to approve cannabis cafes, and put more muscle behind policies meant to make the licensed pot industry equitable after decades of racially disproportionate drug arrests.

“With this bill, Massachusetts will reclaim our leadership role, carving a path to make equity a reality in the cannabis industry,” said state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, who championed the legislation as co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy. “Lowering entry costs and opening up new avenues to capital will put this multibillion-dollar industry within reach for many talented equity entrepreneurs.”

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