Activists from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) clashed with legislators over the implications of cannabis legalization in a hearing held Monday at the Massachusetts State House. The discussion hinged on House Bill 3932, which aims to legalize and regulate the consumption, cultivation and retail of recreational marijuana.
HB 3932 was filed in response to a successful petition drive by CRMLA to see a voter referendum for the legalization of cannabis on this November’s ballot. As per Massachusetts state law, however, after any successful petition drive, lawmakers have a chance to review the initiative and the option of approving the issue outright.
Over the weekend, three major political players in Massachusetts — Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh — wrote in an op-ed for the Boston Globe that voters in the state should reject any proposals to legalize cannabis.
Dick Evans, Chairman for the CRMLA, said the opinion piece reflected bad science and outdated, unwarranted prohibitionist concerns.
“Let’s keep in mind a very simple fact that to oppose legalization is to embrace prohibition and vice versa. It’s a binary choice, one or the other,” Evans wrote in a statement. “If, like the governor, you’re against legalization, that means you’re against bringing the industry out of the shadows and subjecting it to regulation like nearly all other industries.”
According to Linda Noel, treasurer for the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, “The problems we see from cannabis now are caused by cannabis prohibition — you’ve got the black market selling to underage people, you’ve got violence, you’ve money laundering — all of those things are due to the black market.”
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