Massachusetts should not make marijuana fully legal and available for commercial sale, Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh argue in an opinion piece for The Boston Globe
against vote on the issue coming to their state in November.
"For the past year, our teams have worked tirelessly, together and with our partners across Massachusetts, to combat the heroin and prescription-drug epidemic that is ravaging our state," the officials argue.
"Our emergency departments and drug treatment centers are beyond capacity, and our first responders are stretched to their limits. We should not be expanding access to a drug that will further drain our health and safety resources."
The drug is already decriminalized for personal use and legally available for medical purposes, but Baker, Healey and Walsh point out that statistics show that young people are more likely to use marijuana if it's legal.
According to a January report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, marijuana use among minors has gone down in recent years, but in states like Colorado that have legalized the drug, the use has increased.
In Colorado alone, younger people are 20 percent more likely to have used marijuana in the past two years, and are 40 percent more likely to be regular users than young people in Massachusetts.
There are also dangers for public safety, they said, pointing again to Colorado, where marijuana-related emergency room visits and traffic deaths went up, and edible marijuana products in the form of candy or drinks have led to risks for children and adults.
"The costs to our first responders, our medical system, and our cities and towns must be factored in when we speculate about the potential increase in tax revenues from legalizing marijuana," the three said.
In addition, legislation efforts are not backed by neighborhood or state leaders, but by businesses and investors who spend millions to make money from the legalization of marijuana, they said.
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