The Legal Green Scene In Massachusetts
Massachusetts has been a pioneer for other eastern states making moves to end prohibition. Now, it’s up to Massachusetts to answer YES to Question 4.
Cannabis advocates are super pumped for election season, and there’s no question as to why. Massachusetts, another state that strays far from the West Coast, will be voting on legalization this November. At the heart of New England, Massachusetts has been a pioneer for other eastern states making moves to end prohibition. Now, it’s up to Massachusetts to bring it all in.
To the ballot and beyond
The path to getting Question 4 on the ballot in Massachusetts wasn’t faced with too many challenges. In order for the bill to have qualified, supporters had to submit 64,750 signatures to the secretary of state’s office by December 2, 2015. They did them one better by collecting a total of 70,739 signatures instead.
But, of course, it wouldn’t be that easy, since petitioners were then required to collect another 10,792 signatures by June 22, 2016. Supporters played it safe by gathering an additional 25,000+ signatures, and sure enough, by July 6, 2016 the bill was approved and relief ensued.
Supporters of Question 4 have been working endlessly to educate voters on the positive outcomes of a potentially legalized state. In fact, the town of Needham, Massachusetts has scheduled a forum on Thursday, September 20 to help voters better understand the process by introducing them to scientific facts relating to the impact of legalization.
The forum, which has been set up simply to educate rather than to push a political agenda, will have three keynote speakers, all of which are highly educated in the fields related to cannabis and policy.
So, if you happen to live in Massachusetts, send all of your friends, who are either against legalization or don’t know much about it, over to the forum on the 22nd.
Remember, change starts with YOU!
The Massachusetts vote: Question 4
So, if passed, here’s what will fall under Question 4:
- A regulatory structure called the Cannabis Control Commission will be created to oversee cannabis legalization
- The Cannabis Control Commission will be able to issue licenses to firms that wish to sell cannabis products
- Retail cannabis would be subject to the state sales tax with an additional 3.75% excise tax
- Local towns can choose to add another 2% tax
- Revenue from taxes, license application fees, and fines for minor violations of this law would be placed in a Marijuana Regulation Fund to help pay for administrative costs of the new law
Anyone 21 years of age or older can:
- Use, grow, and possess cannabis
- Possess under 10 ounces of cannabis inside their homes and under one ounce in public
- Grow up to six cannabis plants in their homes
Right now, the chances of passing Question 4 are about 50/50. According to the latest poll from September 2016, 80% said that they do not believe using cannabis is morally wrong, while 14% said it is and six percent said they didn’t know.
It also showed that 48% believe that using cannabis presents a public safety hazard while 43% believe it does not.
But get this. When asked what they found to be the most harmful to a person’s body, 42% said tobacco, 19% said alcohol, 13% said sugar and 4% said cannabis. It appears that these voters may know a bit more about cannabis than one may think.
When looking at the polls on average, 48.5% are in favor of legalization while 42.5% are against it.
Basically, things could go either way this November, and if Question 4 does indeed get passed, it’s said that legalization would take effect on December 15, 2016. Not bad, Mass. Not bad at all.
The fight over ballot measures wages on in Republican states, with increasingly expensive campaigns and signature-heavy petitions calling for recreational cannabis legalization.
They’re trying to block a legalization initiative from getting on the ballot in November.
Anti-pot groups and lawmakers are still trying to stop the measure.