Legislative leaders say pot legalization won't be delayed

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Monday ruled out pushing a last-minute delay in the legalization of marijuana set to take effect on Thursday, but did not take other procedural delays off the table as the state moves toward setting up a new industry.

"The voters spoke in favor of legalized recreational marijuana on Nov. 8th and we fully intend to respect the will of the voters. While we analyze the provisions of the new law and its implementation, we will not be passing legislation that changes the Dec. 15th effective date for possession, use, and home growing," the two Democratic leaders said in a joint statement Monday afternoon.

The Governor's Council is poised on Wednesday to certify election results that show more than 1.7 million voters, or about 54 percent, approved the legalization of the adult use of marijuana that will eventually lead to the licensing of marijuana retail stores around the state. The certification will clear the way for the possession of marijuana and the growing of plants in someone's home to become legal on Thursday.

Both DeLeo and Rosenberg previously said they were considering delaying parts of the new law before the the end of the month. "If it's going to be a delay, it's going to be a very time-limited delay," Rosenberg said last Monday after meeting with DeLeo and Gov. Charlie Baker.

DeLeo said pushing back the Dec. 15 legalization date could be "a little more difficult," but the leaders are still looking at legislation to refine the ballot law that could lead to a higher tax rate on marijuana and delays in other key deadlines, including the March establishment of a Cannabis Control Commission or the fall 2017 timetable to begin accepting applications for marijuana retail shops. –Matt Murphy/State House News Service