Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a bill aimed at delaying the opening of marijuana shops by six months.
An aide to the Republican governor says Baker shares the desire of state lawmakers to thoroughly prepare for launching a new industry aimed at distributing a controlled substance.
The new law delays the opening of retail marijuana stores until mid-2018.
Baker's decision to sign the bill Friday comes as a small group of people protesting the delay gathered outside the Statehouse.
Members of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws faulted lawmakers for passing the bill during an informal end-of-year session.
They say the delay "flies in the face of the will of the voters" who approved a ballot question legalizing pot.