State lawmakers are working to stop the sale of illegal marijuana.
Tempers flared at a news conference on Wednesday where public officials told community members about their efforts to combat illegal marijuana sales.
Members of the Cannabis Control Commission joined state lawmakers to discuss a bill that would target people who are selling marijuana illegally. After voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana in 2016, law enforcement officials have been on the lookout for people who are cheating the system.
One of the primary focuses of the bill is cracking down on smoke shops that are selling marijuana without a state issues license, many of which police say are selling to underage kids.
Members of the public expressed their opposition to the proposal at Wednesday’s news conference. They said it would increase racial profiling while driving up the price of legal marijuana.
Legislators denied those accusations and said the bill only targets people who are not paying state taxes on marijuana.
“It is about the illicit delivery operation that employs 25 people, reaps tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and pays taxes on none of it,” said Britte McBride, a Cannabis Control Commissioner.
Public officials agreed that the rollout of the legal marijuana industry in Massachusetts was slow, but they are working to issue more final licenses so residents across the Commonwealth have access to legal marijuana.
Under the bill, illegal sellers would be taxed, instead of charged with a crime.