Joe Kennedy Calls for MJ Legalization Nationwide
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Joe Kennedy Calls for MJ Legalization Nationwide
Posted by CN Staff on November 20, 2018 at 09:27:03 PT
By Christina Prignano, Globe Staff
Source: Boston Globe
Massachusetts -- Representative Joseph Kennedy III is reversing his position on marijuana legalization and now says he supports making the drug legal at the federal level. Kennedy’s change of heart comes in an opinion piece for STAT on the same day that recreational marijuana sales began for the first time in Massachusetts. 
“Given the rapid pace of state-level legalization and liberalization, I believe we must implement strong, clear, and fair federal guidelines. To do that requires us to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize it at the federal level,” Kennedy wrote in the piece, published early Tuesday morning. The Brookline Democrat was skeptical on marijuana legalization as late as March of this year. He told Vox’s Ezra Klein that he was concerned about how legalization would affect the state’s battle with opioid addiction.  “One of my main focuses in Congress is on mental health and addiction and there are a number of voices in that community that do pose serious questions about either the decriminalization or legalization efforts,” he said.As Massachusetts voters were deciding whether to legalize marijuana with a ballot measure in 2016, Kennedy came out firmly against the idea. “I don’t think marijuana should be legalized,” he told Boston magazine at the time. But now, Kennedy explained in the opinion piece for STAT, the patchwork legalization efforts among states have left regulation of marijuana a gray area, which Kennedy says is bad for criminal justice reform, public health, and more. “My concerns about the public health impact of marijuana remain. But it has become clear that prohibition has wholly failed to address them. I believe legalization is our best chance to actually dedicate resources toward consumer safety, abuse prevention, and treatment for those who need it,” he wrote. In a statement Tuesday, the anti-marijuana legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana stopped short of condemning Kennedy’s stance but lamented the position lawmakers are in as they try to balance legalized pot at the state level with conflicting federal law. “Because the federal government — led by all political parties — has failed to adequately address state votes that are in clear violation of federal law, we are left in a limbo that allows pot companies to act just like their 20th century predecessors in Big Tobacco,” the group said. “We understand the current predicament [federal lawmakers] are in with regards to marijuana policies that conflict with their home state votes,” SAM said while also noting their disagreement with Kennedy’s decision. Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: Christina Prignano, Globe StaffPublished: November 20, 2018Copyright: 2018 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: http://www.bostonglobe.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on November 21, 2018 at 20:24:17 PT
I'm happy to see SAM isn't happy with him. That makes his effort more legit for sure. 
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