Attorney Weighs in on Marijuana

  • Question 4
  • Require businesses to test marijuana products and adhere to strict packaging and labeling guidelines.
  • Give cities and towns the right to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments.
  • Impose a 3.75% excise tax on marijuana sales on top of the 6.25% MA sales tax, and allow cities and towns to add a local tax up to 2%.
  • Allow adults 21 years of age or older to possess and cultivate marijuana in limited amounts.
  • It will NOT allow marijuana to be used in public.
  • It will remain entirely illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and employers will be able to maintain all current employment drug use policies.

Reading the article, “Area legislators overwhelmingly oppose marijuana question,” left me puzzled as to how so many lawmakers can compare marijuana with opioids.

I am only an attorney and a medical marijuana patient, not a medical professional. However, even I know that opioids cause physical addiction, serious health issues, and death, while marijuana does not. As Sen. Eldridge pointed out, marijuana is a safer alternative that can actually reduce people’s use of opioids. Compared to both alcohol and tobacco, which we already tax and regulate, marijuana is much less dangerous.

Our current unregulated system forces countless marijuana consumers in Massachusetts to purchase from black-market dealers, who often act as a “gateway” to more dangerous drugs, and do not check the age of their customers. Our youth are at risk now, and will be less at risk with regulation. Yes on Question 4 will allow us for the first time to regulate, tax, and control all marijuana in Massachusetts, and require all consumers to be at least 21 years old.

Other regulatory systems for marijuana are already working well in states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. In those states, marijuana use among youth has not increased, vehicle accidents have not increased, and hundreds of millions of dollars in new state revenue is being generated. Additionally, law enforcement resources are less burdened and free to instead focus on crimes that actually pose a threat to society.

 Question 4 will similarly allow us to reasonably regulate the currently unregulated business of marijuana in Massachusetts, set statewide standards regarding access and safety, and provide ample local control for cities and towns to pass additional restrictions according to the needs of their community. In this case, any regulation is better than none at all. I will be voting yes on Question 4.


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