Since 2008, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana has been a civil infraction punishable by fine in Massachusetts. In the years following the decriminalization of weed, the ball has continued to move forward.
In 2012 Massachusetts voters approved medical marijuana in the state. According to the Marijuana Policy Project,
voters also set the stage in 2014 for marijuana reform by approving non-binding ballot questions indicating support for making marijuana legal.
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Decriminalization remains a hot topic amongst lawmakers Massachusetts. Here’s a sample of what some politicians are saying about legalizing weed.
1. While weed has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, the governor has no plans to support its legalization anytime soon.
“I’m going to oppose that and I’m going to oppose that vigorously,” he told the Springfield Republican newspaper, according to Boston.com
. “There’s a ton of research out there at this point that says, especially for young people, it’s just plain bad,” he added.
2. Some lawmakers would rather the Legislature create new marijuana laws rather than the voters, reported The Boston Globe.
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“Wouldn’t it be a good idea for the Legislature to look at it ahead of time, listen to every point of view, anticipate every problem that we could, and try to do it right?” said Sen. Patricia D. Jehlen, D-Somerville, lead sponsor of a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate recreational use of marijuana.
3. "I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. "But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy. Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom."
According to the LA Times
, Frank was speaking on a proposed bill he sponsored that would allow marijuana laws to be set at the state level and remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. Frank was also responsible for the decriminalization effort in Massachusetts in 2008.
4. “Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S.," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, who does not believe the states have the ability to create their own marijuana laws, the LA Times reported.
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