Public health and addiction prevention professionals have been closely watching the development of regulations for, and roll-out of, a recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Many concerning policies are being institutionalized with many public health and prevention professionals sounding the alarm regarding the “Social Equity Program” and all associated components included in the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulations, driven by industry representatives, both internal and external to the process. These regulations increase availability and access of marijuana to populations who are already disproportionately affected by youth marijuana use: One quarter (24.5%) of Massachusetts youth (grades 9-12) used marijuana regularly (past 30-day). LGBTQ and Latino youth have higher use rates and students who identify as “multi-racial” are almost twice as likely to use marijuana regularly (45.8% compared to 24.5%) (Monitoring the Future 2015). Although, on the surface the “Social Equity Program” sounds like a good idea, the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulatory language drives market growth, targets communities with high unemployment rates (low income), minorities, veterans, the LGTBQ population, and is counter-productive to the state’s addiction prevention goals.
- The proposed law is written to benefit the commercial marijuana industry Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana possession and authorized medical marijuana. People are not being jailed for marijuana use, and have access to it for health reasons. This ballot question is about allowing the national marijuana industry to come into Massachusetts and market and sell marijuana products in our communities.
Those behind Massachusetts Question 4 insist that this law will reduce youth access by regulating marijuana like alcohol. Compare how Massachusetts has prohibited youth access to alcohol for decades with the way Question 4 will deal with this issue:
1 Failure to pay fine and complete drug class within a year may result in a delinquency complaint in juvenile court for violators under age 17. Same is true for misrepresentation of age or fraudulent identification. However, adults, who are most likely to be violators, never face criminal penalties.
2 Only similarity between alcohol and marijuana enforcement is Question 4 preserves the $500 civil fine for an “open container” of marijuana in a vehicle. Compare 90, § 24I with 94G, § 13(d).
Where there is more marijuana, more kids use. School nurses understand social norming pressures on kids today. As well as the negative impacts of recreational drug use. That’s why they oppose the legalization and commercialization of marijuana in Massachusetts.
By PAUL M. McNEIL
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
When people ask me why I am against the legalization of marijuana, I need to take a deep breath and compose my thoughts, for I consistently struggle knowing where to begin.
My biggest concern is that by legalizing this increasingly potent psychoactive drug we are creating the next “Big Tobacco.” At the height of tobacco commercialization, over 50 percent of Americans smoked. That is not “progressive.” That’s an epidemic – and it’s the last thing I think Massachusetts wants and deserves with regards to marijuana legislation. Continue reading Weed worry: Why I dread advent of recreational pot
As Commonwealth Confronts Addiction Crisis, Coalition Leaders Believe Allowing Billion-Dollar Industry to Market Edible Products, Increasing Access to Young People, Is Wrong Path for Massachusetts
BOSTON – A broad-based, bi-partisan coalition of community leaders and experts joined together today to urge voters to reject the proposed ballot question to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Particularly in the context of the addiction crisis we are currently facing, the leaders said allowing the billion-dollar marijuana industry into Massachusetts to market highly potent edible products and increase access to young people is the wrong path for the state.
Kudos to Senator Jason Lewis (MA-D) for being the level-headed, unflappable, well informed adult in the room, and for speaking to the facts and with honesty about what he saw and learned on a fact-finding trip to Colorado. While he hasn’t made public his decision on how he will vote on the 2016 ballot question that would commercialize marijuana for recreational use in Massachusetts, the Senator, unlike much of the media, is at least digging into the issue to properly understand it.
The show on which Senator Lewis appeared is a very popular, generally liberal, public radio talk show in Boston. Upon returning from a fact finding trip in Colorado, Senator Lewis was very clear on the possible downside consequences of a rising commercial/corporate marijuana industry. Continue reading An Adult in the Room: MA Senator Lewis on Marijuana