Marijuana Legal at Midnight in Massachusetts
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Marijuana Legal at Midnight in Massachusetts
Posted by CN Staff on December 14, 2016 at 14:42:45 PT
By Joshua Miller, Globe Staff 
Source: Boston Globe
Massachusetts -- It’s official. Marijuana will be legal for possession, use, and home-growing Thursday for adults 21 and over. The Governor’s Council, a Colonial-era body that vets judges and accepts election results, formally certified the results of Question 4 Wednesday afternoon. The initiative passed last month with 1.8 million people voting for the measure, despite the opposition of top politicians, the Catholic Church, doctors and business groups, and an array of other civic leaders. About 1.5 million people voted against it.Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito gaveled in the pro-forma session of the council to certify all state election results.
With a chorus of “ayes” from the councilors, the legalization measure — along with the results of other elections — became law. Legalization will take effect on Thursday.(After the vote was certified, Jennie L. Caissie, a Republican councilor, stood up and said she couldn’t in good conscience certify the result. But her speech had no legal bearing.)For legalization advocates, the strike of midnight Thursday will represent the culmination of a long twilight struggle that was met with dismissal for decades, but increasing acceptance in recent years. Massachusetts voters decriminalized the drug in 2008, replacing the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less with a new system of civil penalties. And, in 2012, voters approved a ballot question legalizing marijuana for medical use.“The success of this initiative represents the triumph of citizen action in the face of legislative intransigence,” said Dick Evans, who has been working to legalize the drug in Massachusetts for almost 40 years. His own legalization bill was shouted down in a 1981 Beacon Hill hearing.Evans, 72, said Question 4’s ample victory shows the power of democratic pressure — from rallies to letters.“The citizens have achieved this expansion of liberty using the initiative process which was conceived precisely for purposes such as this almost exactly a century ago,” he said, referring to constitutional changes allowing for voter-passed laws.“I staked out a position 40 years ago or whatever, and really haven’t drifted from that position very much,” Evans said, “But public opinion has come around.”The law allows adults to grow up to six plants per person, with a maximum of 12 per household. It mandates the state treasurer appoint a three-person Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the new industry. And it sets a January 2018 timeframe for when retail pot shops can open.But the framework is likely to be tinkered with by politicians who believe it does not sufficiently protect public health and safety. Top leaders have discussed the prospect of delaying the opening of stores to give policymakers more time.For law enforcement the journey ahead may be the most rocky, especially in the next year.They will be forced to navigate a legal gray zone in which marijuana is legal for purchase, possession, and use, but the drug remains illegal to sell. (Sales are legal only through the regulated market, which won’t start until 2018.)Many are already worried about the potential of an increase in people impaired by marijuana getting behind the wheel. And there is deep concern about people growing pot at home in excess of the legal limit and then selling it on the street.Sergeant Scott Pendleton, who leads the four-person marijuana enforcement team in the Aurora, Colo., Police Department, let out a big sigh when asked what advice he would give his police brothers and sisters in Massachusetts.“You open the doors to a lot of people growing in the homes. And it’s going to be a challenge, a real challenge, for law enforcement to make sure people are adhering to the 12-plant limit,” he said. “You’re going to see an increase in illegal cultivation and smuggling out of state. There’s going to have to be a concerted effort by law enforcement to go after it because it’s a big money business. They’ll need the equipment and they’ll need the manpower.”In his city of about 350,000 people — slightly more than half the population of Boston — Pendleton said the department has investigated 167 homegrows this year. The majority of those grows were found to be in violation of city ordinance or state law. And Aurora police, this year alone, have seized nearly 12,000 plants and almost of a ton of marijuana overall.Legalization “just opens the floodgates for a lot of abuse,” he said.As for advice?“Get these procedures in place before you have to work backwards,” he said. “Learn from what we’ve gone through in Colorado and try and avoid the pitfalls we’ve encountered.”Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: Joshua Miller, Globe Staff Published: December 14, 2016Copyright: 2016 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on December 15, 2016 at 10:05:35 PT
more good news>>It was 1911. The New England Watch and Ward Society (nˇe the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice) was battling against drugs and other Ņspecial evils.Ó And in April of that year, the groupÕs leaders successfully petitioned the Massachusetts Legislature to outlaw possession of several Ņhypnotic drugs,Ó including cannabis.One hundred five years, seven months, and 16 days later Ń Thursday Ń marijuana became legal again in Massachusetts.
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Comment #4 posted by Vincent on December 15, 2016 at 06:55:50 PT:
I don't care.
So, it would appear the Sgt. Pendleton is upset with Marijuana legalization.  He comes out his mouth with, "Legalization just opens the floodgates for a lot of abuse".Aww...poor baby! Y'know, frankly I just don't care what anti-drug PIGS believe. We beat them, and they will hafta learn to accept it, or there will be war...and we TRUE, Liberated Americans will win!
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on December 14, 2016 at 22:04:22 PT
The neighbors
Canada marijuana task force releases sweeping report on national legalizationAmong task force's 80 proposals for marijuana legalization are setting the minimum purchase age at 18 and furthering research for public health, safety and potential medical purposes
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on December 14, 2016 at 19:21:26 PT
It’s official!
That's all I need to quote and 2nd Sam Adams...Unbelievable article! So many quotes of ignorance and self-interest over the backs of the American people who just want some herb instead of booze!Good grief!But, we finally WON! "It’s official"By the will and the order of the people!Recount or not!And, in a few hours in MA, the sky will fall...Oh my!Let's get over this ill-fated prohibition!
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on December 14, 2016 at 16:23:27 PT
rocky road
oh yes, the poor law enforcement guys. The road must have gotten really rocky back in 2008 when we passed decrim and MJ arrests went from 10,000 per year to less than 1,000, while police budgets only increased.Must have been SO hard for them to make those 9,000 additional non-arrests.
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