Voters Doing What Politicians Won’t on Marijuana 
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Voters Doing What Politicians Won’t on Marijuana 
Posted by CN Staff on March 09, 2016 at 13:12:12 PT
By Christopher Ingraham
Source: Washington Post
Massachusetts' top politicians just came out swinging against legal marijuana. Voters there are on track to decide whether to legalize marijuana at the ballot box this November. But the state's Republican governor and Democratic attorney general have penned an op-ed with Boston's mayor encouraging residents to Just Say No.Noting that the state has already decriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana and is in the process of setting up a medical marijuana regime, the politicians say that "the question before us now is whether marijuana should be fully legal and widely available for commercial sale. We think the answer is 'no.'"
They argue that regular marijuana use causes IQ declines (studies say no, it doesn't), that it impairs brain development (latest research says no), and that it negatively impacts graduation rates and career success (not that simple). They argue that a commercial market will lead to more teens using the drug (hasn't happened in Washington and Colorado -- yet)."Marijuana is not safe," they conclude. As if to drive home the point, a Massachusetts Senate committee today released a lengthy report echoing many of these points and outlining ways lawmakers could blunt the impact of the ballot initiative if it passes this fall. A group of state senators went on a fact-finding trip to Colorado and consulted with 75 experts to come up with a number of recommendations on how the state legislature should respond if the legalization ballot initiative passes in November.Among other things, the Senate's recommendations include:Limiting the availability of certain types of edible products that may be attractive to children, like candies;Requiring plain, child-resistant packaging for products sold at the retail level;Putting strict limits on advertising;Prohibiting home-growing permanently or at least temporarily.The initiative's backers blasted the report and the op-ed yesterday. They say that the lawmakers' lack of nuance in portraying the risks of marijuana use is a throwback to the drug panic days of old."A lot of this stuff is directly from 1930s, reefer madness," initiative spokesman Jim Borghesani told MassLive. "It's just recycled hysteria and we don't think anybody's falling for that," he added.Mark Kleiman is a drug policy expert at UCLA who was consulted on the Massachusetts Senate report. He's written extensively on how voter initiatives are not necessarily the best way to solve complex regulatory problems like legal marijuana."It would be better, in my view, for the legislature to write a coherent legalization bill incorporating some of [the Senate report's] restrictions, rather than trying to retrofit restrictions into a voter-passed initiative," he said in an email. "That debate would move attention away from the fun-to-argue-about 'yes or no' question to the much thornier 'how' questions."But state legislators have been squeamish about tackling legalization directly. And in the absence of action on their part, voters have taken measures into their own hands, driving successful legalization initiatives in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and D.C.Only two states have seen serious attempts to address marijuana legalization via the legislature. Rhode Island legislators are trying to pass a legalization bill this session. And a Vermont legalization measure recently passed the state Senate and is now before the House.The Massachusetts Senate report "is basic CYA public policy," said John Hudak of the Brookings Institution. Hudak has studied the successes and failures of regulatory regimes currently in place in Washington and Colorado. The report "asserts from the outset that implementation of legal marijuana is hard, risky and costly, essentially, 'if this is what the voters want don't blame us for screwing us up.'"But Hudak calls this framing "a little over the top," noting that Massachusetts regulators can simply look to Colorado or Washington to get a roadmap for what effective marijuana policy looks like. Armed with this knowledge, Massachusetts lawmakers are "leaps and bounds ahead of where Colorado and Washington were in December 2012."Other experts, like Beau Kilmer of the RAND Corporation, point out that legalization doesn't have to be a binary choice between "drug-war style prohibition" and "full commercialization." Kilmer and his colleagues identify a full spectrum of policy options between these extremes, covering everything from only allowing home-grows to government monopolies on the production and sale of marijuana.Kilmer says some of those middle options provide greater protections for public health than full commercialization or retaining the status quo. "For public health-minded individuals considering alternatives to prohibiting marijuana supply, an incremental approach may be optimal," he said in an email. "Since no one knows how legalization is going to play out, it is very risky to jump from prohibition to a for-profit commercial model that neither limits potency nor products—especially in the US where it is difficult to limit advertising."The irony is that many policymakers don't begin to consider the possibilities of more public health-minded legalization measures until voters force the issue with a ballot amendment. But by that point, it may be too late for lawmakers to change the conversation.Indeed, the conversation may change them. "Several Colorado officials who opposed the legalization initiative in 2012 have changed their tune following its successful implementation," said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project in an email. "We won’t be surprised when the same thing occurs in Massachusetts in a couple years."Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Christopher IngrahamPublished: March 9, 2016Copyright: 2016 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on March 12, 2016 at 21:59:17 PT
Flushing to cleanes cannabis prohibition.
US OH: DeWine Rejects Medical Marijuana Proposal initiative process makes it possible but not easy. Cleansing cannabis prohibition may require flushing many times.-to eat through dirty Attorney General Mike DeWine stains takes powerful cleaners.-0-I'm reminded of when, what was it Colorado attorney general or some elections officer, named Victoria Buckley said We didn't have enough petition signatures to make the ballot and then She died WHILE HOLDING OFFICE and they found enough hidden signed pititions in Her official desk to make it; so it AUTOMATICALLY went from Amendment 19 to AMENDMENT 20 & just like that it became  -VOTE 4-20.-0-Ohio must stick with it.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on March 10, 2016 at 17:49:52 PT
initiative process
If I lived in a state without the referendum I'd be thinking about moving soon. Especially if a legal state is nearby. It's time for the cannabis community to vote with their feet and dollars.  At the very least all vacation travel should be done to legal territory. We've got at least 10% of the population in our community. That is a large stake economically.  We can't affect the political class much, but we can definitely affect the private sector business community in a big way.For example I hope no one is using Dish Network or shopping at Home Depot, ever. They both fired very sick people and disabled employees for using medical cannabis off-hours while at home. 
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on March 10, 2016 at 09:28:43 PT
Miami, 2016 debate.
Bernie was on fire! Hillary recieved third degree berns!
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 09, 2016 at 18:36:17 PT
At the Summit County, Colorado Democratic Caucus (precinct 19), I spoke about a list of reasons to support Sanders. I forgot to include that one of His policy stands is to resist over throwing foreign governments. -Which this country is guilty of and often replacements include really bad people.Now, news is out of Shillary being involved in the over-throw of Honduran Prez. Although Her handlers are denyng it, all kinds of records including illegal e-mail copies and documents seem to show and reinforce that in fact She's guilty.Uproar Over Hillary's Role in Honduran Coup Grows as Her Campaign Denies Any Connection of My concerns is to get this news and other dirt out right away so Bernie Sanders can win the Dem nomination.If the dirt hits the fan after Shillary wins the nomination, Sanders misses out.Turn the fan on FULL BLAST.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 09, 2016 at 18:05:12 PT
Mass is blessed with the initiative process!
Wisconsin is not blessed with the initiative process.Gary Storck wrote a letter about a week ago in frustration to His local government politicians ignoring citizens: US WI: PUB LTE: Listen To The People About Marijuana wrote a follow up:US WI: PUB LTE: No Sane Reason To Criminalize Cannabis's letter "Listen to the people about marijuana" reminds me how difficult it was for Colorado citizens to cleanse ourselves of cannabis ( marijuana ) prohibition. If it weren't for the initiative process, the sky would still be falling in. Cannabis prohibitionists used every historically discredited lie, half-truth and propaganda they could muster, and then we voted. Like Colorado, the majority of Wisconsin citizens also support ending cannabis prohibition. But without the initiative process available to voters, government subsidized cannabis prohibitionists will continue ignoring citizens. ...-0-Mass. is fortunate to have the initiative process available to them and it is their civic duty to use it and help end the devil law.
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