Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Bill Gets Hearing

A bill that would legalize the possession of and commerce in marijuana got a hearing at the Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday. While even the bill's sponsor conceded it was unlikely to pass, it helps lay the groundwork for a proposed marijuana legalization initiative down the line.

Massachusetts State House, Beacon Hill, Boston (wikimedia.org)
Marijuana possession was decriminalized by popular vote in 2008, but people can still be fined and have their marijuana seized, and marijuana commerce remains illegal.

The bill, House Bill 1371, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), would legalize marijuana and "establish a tax on the cannabis industry."

"The state needs to make money," Story told her colleagues in the committee. "This would allow the state to benefit from marijuana by regulating it."

Story said she decided to sponsor the bill after a non-binding resolution to legalize marijuana won the approval of 70% of her constituents in the 2010 municipal elections.

"There are a number of legislators who said to me privately that they think it is an excellent idea, but they are nervous about saying it publicly," Story said. "Nobody wants to be seen as soft on drugs."

But some committee members were skeptical.

"If it's OK with marijuana, should we legalize cocaine and LSD?" asked Rep. Sheila Harrington. "I'm not sure that the justification is people are breaking the law all the time and we should just open it up."

Also testifying was Suffolk University senior and campus NORML head Sean McSoley. He related how he was stabbed six times on Boston Commons by men who wanted to take his bag of weed.

"There is nothing about marijuana that makes people violent," he said. "The prohibition is the reason for the crime surrounding marijuana and not the plant itself. This would have never happened if it were a pack of cigarettes or a six pack of beer," he said. "By legalizing this plant, these incentives to rob and kill would no longer exist."

Professional anti-reform activist Kevin Sabet, this time wearing the cap of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, testified that the bill was unnecessary, it would increase drugged driving accidents, and it would cause mental health issues.

"There's no need for legalization," Sabet said. "No one's going to jail for small amounts. If we're worried about Big Tobacco, we need to be worried about Big Marijuana because they're going to be coming up right behind them."

No vote was taken and the bill remains in committee.

Boston, MA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Liberty, and dinosaurs who fear the evolution of our species

"If it’s OK with marijuana, should we legalize cocaine and LSD?" asked a woman who has no idea what either of those things are but clearly is afraid of change and anti-evolution and anti-liberty.

This issue should have nothing to do with what a group of scaly old dinosaurs in suits deems "OK" for the rest of the state to do.

Rep. Sheila Harrington should go back and figure out exactly why marijuana became illegal and who was behind it and ask herself if that was a proper way to legislate.

In the meantime, the rest of us will continue to evolve and wait patiently while these stodgy old cold-blooded barbarians turn gray and get out of the way.

 

 

You bad marijuana plant

Anyone that compares LSD to Cannabis obviously knows nothing about LSD . Legal LSD would do wonders for this war-mongering Nation . It should not be too hard for the chemists to make a " cocaine " without the side effects and addictive nature of regular cocaine . Same for heroin . People not cut out for LSD only do it once . Who the truck bans a mushroom ? What kind of  " science " is the " Christian " using anyway ? Can`t see the propaganda tree for the propaganda forest ? Well here it is .

"Big M"?

"There's no need for legalization," Sabet said. "No one's going to jail for small amounts. If we're worried about Big Tobacco, we need to be worried about Big Marijuana because they're going to be coming up right behind them."

As Michelle Alexander has pointed out in The New Jim Crow, it's not going to jail for small amounts, it's the mark on one's record, the black(sic)listing from eligibility, jobs, higher income career track etc.  Once Big Tobacco (700-mg-per-lightup hot burning overdose $igarettes) is dead, there will be NO "Big Marijuana" because instead of easier-to-hide hot burning joints, every user will prefer 25-mg single tokes, liquid formula cannabinoid e-cig or the deluxe plug-in vaporizer.  Not some corporate oligopoly but Granny up the street will raise the cannabis locally; and every human being from age 5 will know how to sift dried herbs to vaporizing particle size and make or repair one-hitters (see wikiHow.com/Make Smoke Pipes from Everyday Objects).

"If it's OK with marijuana, should we legalize cocaine and LSD?"

These are separate issues (actually 3 separate issues, psychedelics are in a category by themselves and deserve separate discussion too, but public opinion isn't ready to insist on that yet). Cocaine is so refined and toxic that it has a very low lethal dosage, it's very physically addictive, excessive use leads to severe physical health consequences (like early death), and it likely has a connection with violence independent from prohibition. Quite a different story with cannabis, and it's bogus to group them together to avoid a very long overdue discussion of cannabis on it's own merits.

Yes, it is unfortunate that

Yes, it is unfortunate that so many of our legislators in every state seem to be too busy getting the money together to run for election/re-election that they can not be bothered to learn some basic facts before they form an opinion.  I guess that if there is one area where the Federal "War On Drugs" propoganda has been successful it is with the politicians.

Drew B's picture

I Testified There

Somehow I managed to miss Sabet's testimony.

I was there. I didn't get a chance to talk until 7:45 PM!

Here is a video and what I said:

https://ChristiansAgainstProhibition.org/node/714

the opposed must have some killer wacky tobacky

it never fails to amaze me how the aforementioned dinosaurs always find some moronic arguments against legalizing marijuana .And HEMP! All the amazing possibilities that are available to us by small variables in the same plant and these geezers keep shutting us down! our forefathers would be ashamed. But the geezers want to protect the real dinosaurs who made them illegal because it "makes the black man crazy." c'mon now. do the geezers really believe this BS still? if so they must have a better stash then the rest of us weed smoking nut jobs... so I suppose my point here is: A vast majority of the people on this earth have at least tried marijuana. some like it, some don't. Regardless, it needs to be a personal choice. Marijuana is not cocaine or LSD. I'm not gonna lie and say it's not addictive because there have been a few times in my life I felt particularly cranky when I'm out of stash....but I no way would I harm another individual to re-up or to get a fix. In fact, most people who use it have a network of friends who also use AND SHARE! better than sharing lego's IMO.

it never fails to amaze me

it never fails to amaze me how the aforementioned dinosaurs always find some moronic arguments against legalizing marijuana .And HEMP! All the amazing possibilities that are available to us by small variables in the same plant and these geezers keep shutting us down! our forefathers would be ashamed. But the geezers want to protect the real dinosaurs who made them illegal because it "makes the black man crazy." c'mon now. do the geezers really believe this BS still? if so they must have a better stash then the rest of us weed smoking nut jobs... so I suppose my point here is: A vast majority of the people on this earth have at least tried marijuana. some like it, some don't. Regardless, it needs to be a personal choice. Marijuana is not cocaine or LSD. I'm not gonna lie and say it's not addictive because there have been a few times in my life I felt particularly cranky when I'm out of stash....but I no way would I harm another individual to re-up or to get a fix. In fact, most people who use it have a network of friends who also use AND SHARE! better than sharing lego's IMO.

he wants cocaine and lsd

he mentioned cocaine and LSD when it wasn't even a factor in the discussion it had nothing to do with it does he do cocaine and LSD on the weekends possibly XD!!!

I've said this for YEARS

We could bring this whole country out of debt with legalization and taxation of Marijuana.

This is one statement that confuses me though - "it would increase drugged driving accidents" .

It's not putting a new product on the market - it's legalizing a product already in use. How many new smokers do you think you would honestly get? What exactly is the percentage of "stoned" driving now? Most of the current drugged driving probably has more to do with prescription drugs.

I watched a show on drugs and the effects on the body where they took 3-4 drug users and put them through a battery of tests - one of which was driving. You know what the guy on marijuana did? He drove slowly and cautiously. He didn't hit a single cone... it took him a little longer to parallel park, but he didn't hit anything.

Why not conduct a poll of how many adults actually drive while under the influence of marijuana. I'd bet it would be under 20%. The recreational use of marijuana is typically to relax or focus and be creative. Most adults (who the legalization would be regulated to) use it in their home or a friends home. Then they watch a movie, play cards, get some food or go to bed. It's typically teenagers concealing the drug from their parents that fishbowl the car and go for drives. OH and heres an idea - just like with alcohol, make public use illegal.

As far as the "Big Tobacco" comment. Tobacco is highly addictive. If your average or even heavy marijuana smoker stopped, there'd be some habitual impulses to overcome, that "man I wish I had a bowl pack", but it is not physically addictive. I get the same feeling when I've already chewed off all my fingernails - it's habit, losing a ritual or habit makes us uneasy - but you get over it quick. There are no withdrawals like with tobacco (I know, I've quit twice). The main health concern is the effects on the lungs, like any inhalant. But if marijuana were legal then cannabis oil would be too, it and the herb itself could also be used in cooking which negates the concern of lung damage. They've already proven that it does not kill brain cells, it temporarily stuns them. It does not cause mental issues, but depending on the strain (Indica or Sativa) it may exaggerate them (like alcohol) temporarily. BUT with legalization people could educate themselves which strain is most beneficial to them and purchase just that strain instead of just getting what's available.

One more thing to add....

PS

Has anyone watched the documentary The War on Drugs? The CIA and US Government introduced Cocaine and Crack in the US and put it circulation to fund an out of country war. I want to say in Guadalajara. It was when George H. W. Bush was head of the CIA. Yet another thing the Bush family contributed to America to f**k it up.

One more thing to add....

PS

Has anyone watched the documentary The War on Drugs? The CIA and US Government introduced Cocaine and Crack in the US and put it circulation to fund an out of country war. I want to say in Guadalajara. It was when George H. W. Bush was head of the CIA. Yet another thing the Bush family contributed to America to f**k it up.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <object> <param> <embed> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School

StopTheDrugWar Video Archive