Justin Jensen

Mass. Legalization Efforts Supported by Voters; Officials Launch Prohibition Campaign

A majority of voters in Massachusetts support ballot questions to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state for individuals 21 and older, but the Republican governor is teaming up with two powerful Democrats to oppose a likely ballot question.

Of the 497 registered voters polled for the April 1-10 Western New England University survey, 57 percent supported legalizing cannabis for adult use, with 35 percent opposed and 7 percent were undecided. Democrats overwhelmingly favored legalization – 64 percent to 29 percent – while independent voters supported the issue by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin. Republicans opposed the measure 58 percent to 35 percent.

Voters ages 18 to 39 supported legalization by a 74 percent margin, those ages 40 to 54 by 54 percent, and voters ages 55 to 64 by 53 percent. Just 43 percent of individuals ages 65 and older supported legalization.

Despite the measure’s popularity in the poll, Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D) and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh (D) have joined forces to discourage legalization efforts, according to the Sentinel and Enterprise.

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts will directly oppose the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, who are pushing for the measure.

In a statement announcing the campaign, the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts declared the ballot question “is written by and for the corporate interests that have profited from legalization across the country.”

DeLeo said he opposed any measures making it “easier to introduce young people to drug use.”

In 2008 voters in the state approved a proposal to decriminalize possession of up to one ounce or less, and in 2012 they approved the use of medical marijuana. Both initiatives passed with approval rates of 65 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

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