Tim Sackton

MA Citizens’ Review Panel Presents Arguments For and Against Legalization

The Massachusetts Citizens’ Initiative Review released their key findings after analyzing the recreational legalization ballot question and hearing testimony from experts, advocates, and opponents of Question 4, MassLive reports.

The 20-person panel determined that the proposal “provides significant control” to municipalities by allowing safeguards on marijuana establishment operations, and protects businesses and landlord rights because it prohibits public consumption. The panel noted that the system would be “controlled, transparent and accountable.”

In their statement of support for the measure, proponents said that cannabis purchased in the formal market would be safer than its informal market counterpart, because the proposal calls for product testing and labeling. The ‘yes’ group also considered that legalization could help people “avoid opiates, addiction and worse problems” and would create new jobs in the state.

“Question 4 legalizes recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth, creating new jobs and adding to the Massachusetts economy. This initiative includes measures for economic sustainability, regulatory responsibility and ensures access to safe products,” the statement says. “Safety, responsibility, justice, fairness and freedom are the basic values at stake in this matter.”

Opponents argued that legalization in Colorado has not put an end to the informal market and that there is no definitive method of testing for cannabis-impaired drivers. They said that there are too many unknowns in the referendum to support it “at this time.”

“There is a lack of transparency as many regulatory policies and procedures will not be defined until after the passage of the referendum. The long-term effects of recreational marijuana use on society, not fully understood, present a threat to our communities and roadways. There is a lack of credible evidence regarding the financial stability and economic gains,” the statement says. “Safety, responsibility, and public health and welfare are the core values at stake in this matter.”

Voters in the state will decide on Question 4 in November.

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