BOSTON – A statewide association of organizations committed to providing behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts has voiced its opposition to the proposed initiative to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) voted to oppose the ballot referendum last week. ABH represents more than eighty community-based mental health and addiction provider organizations across Massachusetts.
Its members serve approximately 81,000 Massachusetts residents daily and 1.5 million annually.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of families struggling with addiction during this devastating opiate crisis,” Vicker DiGravio, CEO of ABH said. “We do not believe now is the time to increase access to another addictive drug in our state. We hope as people learn more about this ballot question, they will vote against commercializing a drug that we see impact far too many young people and families.”
ABH’s Board also urged public officials to address addiction as a public health concern by expanding access to treatment as an alternative to prosecution and incarceration.
ABH joins a growing coalition of health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, business groups, first responders, and families who are opposing this proposed legalization of the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
Among the groups that have already come out in opposition to this initiative include: the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Association of School Superintendents, and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.