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February 26, 2024 Clouds | 33°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 17: Research agenda; social and economic trends and public health impacts of marijuana

Section 17. (a) The commission shall develop a research agenda in order to understand the social and economic trends of marijuana in the commonwealth, to inform future decisions that would aid in the closure of the illicit marketplace and to inform the commission on the public health impacts of marijuana. The research agenda shall include, but not be limited to: (i) patterns of use, methods of consumption, sources of purchase and general perceptions of marijuana among minors, among college and university students and among adults; (ii) incidents of impaired driving, hospitalization and use of other health care services related to marijuana use, including a report of the state of the science around identifying a quantifiable level of marijuana-induced impairment of motor vehicle operation and a report on the financial impacts on the state healthcare system of hospitalizations related to marijuana; (iii) economic and fiscal impacts for state and local governments including the impact of legalization on the production and distribution of marijuana in the illicit market and the costs and benefits to state and local revenue; (iv) ownership and employment trends in the marijuana industry examining participation by racial, ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups, including identification of barriers to participation in the industry; (v) a market analysis examining the expansion or contraction of the illicit marketplace and the expansion or contraction of the legal marketplace, including estimates and comparisons of pricing and product availability in both markets; (vi) a compilation of data on the number of incidents of discipline in schools, including suspensions or expulsions, resulting from marijuana use or possession of marijuana or marijuana products; and (vii) a compilation of data on the number of civil penalties, arrests, prosecutions, incarcerations and sanctions imposed for violations of chapter 94C for possession, distribution or trafficking of marijuana or marijuana products, including the age, race, gender, country of origin, state geographic region and average sanctions of the persons charged.

(b) The commission shall incorporate available data into its research agenda, including the baseline study conducted pursuant to chapter 351 of the acts of 2016, and coordinate and form partnerships with the department of public health, the department of elementary and secondary education, the department of higher education, the executive office of public safety and security and the executive office of labor and workforce development. Said departments and executive offices shall: (i) provide the commission with any existing data requested by the commission, subject to any applicable confidentiality laws and regulations regarding personally identifying information; (ii) collect data, as reasonably requested by the commission, to complete the commission's research agenda; and (iii) provide data requested by the commission pursuant to clause (ii) to the commission subject to any applicable confidentiality laws and regulations regarding personally identifying information. Any personally identifiable information contained in data acquired through this section shall not be considered a public record and shall not be subject to disclosure pursuant to clause twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 and chapter 66. The commission shall annually report on the results of its research agenda and, when appropriate, make recommendations for further research or policy changes. The annual reports shall be posted online in a machine-readable format.