The Honorable Alice Hanlon Peisch, House Chair
The Honorable Cindy F. Friedman, Senate Chair
Special Joint Committee on Initiative Petitions
State House, Boston

Delivered electronically

Dear Chair Peisch, Chair Friedman, and Distinguished Members of the Special Committee,

On behalf of cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the MMA offers the following testimony as the Committee considers Initiative Petition H. 4255, An Act Relative to the Regulation and Taxation of Natural Psychedelic Substances. We are submitting these comments to provide an overview on the key concerns of local government as you consider this ballot initiative.

Preemption of Local Control
We are extremely concerned by the broad preemption of local control contained in this ballot initiative. The initiative would prevent cities and towns from making local decisions on whether to allow natural psychedelic substance retail sales and services within their municipalities. While many municipalities currently navigate the onerous opt-out process for recreational cannabis sales created in the 2016 Marijuana Act, this initiative goes even further by completely preventing a municipality from prohibiting natural psychedelic substance licensees from operating or otherwise offering services within their boundaries. With statewide adoption of this initiative, all municipalities would be required to allow natural psychedelic substance licensees to operate within their borders, without any opt-out provision.

Under Massachusetts law and our long history of municipal governance, decisions on zoning and commercial activity are inherent in the duties of town meetings, town councils, and city councils. Virtually no other industry is able to bypass the local decision-making bodies when seeking approval to locate in a city or town. This initiative would prevent cities and towns from making critical local decisions, preempting local control and authority over federally criminalized substances which have only just begun being researched.

Commission and Advisory Board Power
Additionally, the ballot initiative would create a Natural Psychedelic Substance Commission composed of appointed, not elected, representatives. This commission would issue rules around psychedelic possession, facilitation, and matters involving municipal governance. Given the current struggles of the Cannabis Control Commission, we feel it would be unwise to create yet another unelected commission similarly prone to regulatory capture. The Commission and its Advisory Board will be highly susceptible to commercial psychedelic interests.

We urge the Committee to learn from past shortcomings of the cannabis regulatory process. Municipalities must maintain local control over their commercial activities. The creation of a statewide commercial regulatory scheme for psychedelic substances that have not even been decriminalized is a blatant attempt to profit on these natural substances with little thought given to the public interest or equity. We believe the public would be better served through decriminalization, study, and education.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to submit testimony on this important issue. We are grateful for your ongoing support of our cities and towns. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me, Senior Executive and Legislative Director Dave Koffman at, or Legislative Analyst Ali DiMatteo at, at any time.

Thank you for your consideration and support of local government.


Adam Chapdelaine
MMA Executive Director and CEO