Brief: Massachusetts Voters Ready to Approve Cannabis Legalization

According to this year’s Public Policy Questions in Massachusetts, voters in that state are ready to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana. The non-binding inquiries were featured on this year’s midterm ballots, and an overwhelming majority of votes were cast in support of marijuana reform.

Two different questions were posed by two different organizations, the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and Bay State Repeal.

Presented in eight different counties, the DPFMA question — “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol?” — received between 69 and 74 percent approval.

Meanwhile, the Bay State Repeal questions detailed a potential regulatory system — similar to business regulations in the agricultural industry — for growing, selling, and possessing legalized cannabis. Three variations of the concept were posed to voters across six different counties, and approval rates ranged from 54 to 64 percent.

“PPQs are an excellent measure of voter sentiment,” said DPFMA Director John Leonard. “They represent actual votes by actual voters, not some pollster’s ideas of how citizens are likely to vote.”

In Massachusetts, the PPQ has served marijuana activists particularly well: voters signaled strong support for marijuana decriminalization in 2008 and medical marijuana in 2012, and the state has since implemented legislation to approve both drug policy reforms.


Photo Credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts

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