Vote NO to legalizing the marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

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3 10, 2016

Question 4 Deliberately Strips Control From Communities and Homeowners Because Marijuana Industry Knows Massachusetts Families Don’t Want Pot Shops In Their Neighborhoods

The marijuana industry stripped control away from homeowners and communities under Question 4 because they knew that people do not want pot shops in their own neighborhoods, the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts said today.

Under Question 4, local communities and homeowners are given significantly less ability to restrict the number or location of marijuana businesses than we have seen in the Massachusetts casino law, the medical marijuana law, and even marijuana legalization laws in other states.

Today’s Boston Globe report on the the medical marijuana law outlined the concerns raised by local cities and towns and their steps to reject proposed medical marijuana shops in neighborhoods.

28 09, 2016

Broad-based Bi-partisan Coalition Urges Rejection of Ballot Question to Legalize Commercial Marijuana Industry in Massachusetts

A broad-based, bi-partisan coalition of community leaders and experts joined together today to urge voters to reject the proposed ballot question to legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Particularly in the context of the addiction crisis we are currently facing, the leaders said allowing the billion-dollar marijuana industry into Massachusetts to market highly potent edible products and increase access to young people is the wrong path for the state. The press conference, held today at the William J. Ostiguy Recovery High School in Boston, was the official kick off of the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts. Participating in the event included Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, health and anti-addiction advocates, doctors and educators, and business and public safety leaders.

28 09, 2016

With Focus on Kids And Edibles, School Nurses Oppose Question 4

The Massachusetts School Nurse Organization (MSNO) has voiced their opposition to Question 4, raising particular concerns about the dangerous edibles market and the impact of legalization the commercial marijuana industry on kids. The MSNO represents thousands of school nurses in communities across the Commonwealth. Their mission is to promote quality school health services throughout the Commonwealth. The creation of the dangerous edibles market is a major component of Question 4. Edibles include highly potent THC-infused cookies, candies and sodas. These products will be marketed and sold in Massachusetts under Question 4, and some reports have them already accounting for nearly 50% of the marijuana sales in Colorado. Children’s Hospital Denver has reported an increase in children being treated in their emergency room for accidental ingestion since legalization.

26 09, 2016

Citing Dangers Of Edibles Market, Organization of Nurse Leaders Voices Opposition To Question 4

An organization of nurse leaders has voiced their opposition to Question 4 that would legalize the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts. The organization believes Question 4 would have a negative impact on public health, particularly due to the creation of the edibles market, and runs counter to our goal of combatting the opioid crisis.

The Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL) voted to oppose Question 4. The organization consists of over 1,000 nurse leaders from various practice and academic settings and represents nearly all acute care hospitals in the commonwealth. Collectively, the membership employs thousands of nurses and health care workers and administers billions in operating budgets across New England.

“As nurse leaders, we also have significant concerns about the impact of creating an edibles market that markets and sells high potency candies and other products,” Tim Quigley, ONL President, said. “Our nurses care for patients and families struggling with addiction every day, and we believe legalizing the commercial marijuana industry would certainly not help that work, and may hurt it. This is the wrong path for the health and wellness of our communities.”

ONL joins an unprecedented, bi-partisan coalition of community leaders as well as health care, public safety, business, anti-addiction, and child protection advocates who are opposing Question 4.

Other groups who are opposing Question 4 include:

  • Massachusetts Hospital Association
  • Massachusetts Medical Society
  • Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals
  • Associated Industries of Massachusetts
  • Retailers Association of Massachusetts
  • Association of School Superintendents
  • Construction Industries of Massachusetts
  • Action for Boston Community Development
  • Association for Behavioral Healthcare
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter)
  • Massachusetts Chiefs of Police
  • Massachusetts Sheriffs Association
  • all Massachusetts District Attorneys

Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Congressmen Joe Kennedy, Stephen Lynch, and Bill Keating, Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas, and 120 state legislators have also voiced their opposition to Question 4.

For more information on the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, visit safeandhealthyma.com or on twitter at @safehealthyma.

23 09, 2016

ICYMI: Will Legalizing Marijuana Create Modern Bootleggers?

Black Market From Home Grow Provision is "Probably Our Number One Concern" According to CO Guv Marijuana Policy Director

Will Legalizing Marijuana Create Modern Bootleggers?
Maine Public Radio
By Fred Bever
September 21, 2016

States that have legalized marijuana are contending with a new criminal tactic — smugglers who grow and process it for export to states where it’s illegal and worth a lot more.

Colorado is the epicenter of the phenomenon, although it’s popping up in Oregon and Washington too. Now as Maine, Massachusetts and Canada consider legalizing recreational marijuana, the question arises — will the Northeast see a wave of new-age bootleggers?

During the Prohibition era, it was whiskey being run from Canada or Mexico to the U.S. Now it’s marijuana that’s being smuggled — from Colorado, where it has been fully legal since 2014, to neighboring states and beyond.

“It’s probably our No. 1 concern.” says Andrew Freedman, who directs marijuana policy for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Freedman says organized criminals are exploiting legal loopholes by collecting home-grow licenses that allow for as many as 99 marijuana plants each. And more generally, he says, criminals are using the state’s fully legalized pot economy as cover.

“Different ways you can use Amendment 20 and 64, the medical and the recreational, to kind of cloak yourself in legitimate growing. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who want to do that in order to sell out of state because there’s a huge economic incentive to want to sell out of state right now,” he says.

As in, a pound of pot, worth, say, $1,500 at the counter of a legal Colorado marijuana shop is worth $3,000 or more when it crosses the state border, instantly transmuted into a prized black-market commodity. And criminal gangs are moving in, creating a headache for Colorado law enforcement, danger to public safety and a field day for the media.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says last year, state highway patrols intercepted more than 3,500 pounds of marijuana that was destined for states beyond Colorado’s border. That’s just a tenth, they estimate, of the actual cross-border market, making it, conservatively, a $100 million-plus proposition.

Those numbers do not include busts of some pretty big syndicates, many of them recently involving Cuban nationals shipping product to Florida. And for Colorado’s neighboring states, it’s a doubly-frustrating problem, because it’s not of their own making.

“In Nebraska, Colorado’s become ground zero for marijuana production and trafficking,” says Jon Bruning, Nebraska’s attorney general, who with his counterpart in Oklahoma is trying to sue Colorado and force it to overturn its marijuana laws. “This contraband has been heavily trafficked in our state. While Colorado reaps millions from the production and sale of pot, Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost. Virtually every aspect of Nebraska’s criminal justice system has experienced increased expense to deal with the interdiction and prosecution of Colorado marijuana trafficking.”

One Nebraska study found that border counties saw gradual increases in pot-related arrests, jailings and costs since medicinal marijuana was legalized in Colorado, and a surge in 2014, when the recreational pot law went into effect. But the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review the complaint by Colorado’s neighbors, which are looking for other venues to pursue their case.

Meanwhile, here on the East Coast, voters in Massachusetts and Maine are considering full legalization on the November ballot, and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling for legalization there. If those measures are all approved, police in New Hampshire are wondering what it would be like to be nearly surrounded by legal pot territory.

Andrew Shagoury is Tuftonboro’s chief of police, and the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Association’s point-man on pot. If Maine or Massachusetts does go for legalization, he expects that at the least, problems such as small-scale smuggling and intoxicated driving will spill over the border.

“If more does spill over, the direct effect I suspect will be more accidents with people under the influence — obviously that would be a public safety concern. And I think politically you’d see more pressure for it to pass here too,” he says.

And Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy expects organized crime to open up new fields of operation.

“What’s going to stop a drug cartel from purchasing property, renting property here and running an operation at the property? And that’s something that could be situated next to a school, next to a hospital, in a suburban neighborhood. That’s a real problem,” she says.

For full story, click here.

22 09, 2016

Colorado Seeing Dramatic Rise In Opioid Use

Drug Overdoes Deaths Up In Almost Every County, Higher Than National Average; Runs Counter To Yes on 4 Claims That Legalization Will Combat Opiate Crisis

Despite claims from the Yes on 4 campaign that commercial marijuana legalization is a solution to the opioid crisis, Colorado is seeing a dramatic rise in opioid use. In fact, the state has seen a dramatic increase in overdose deaths that is higher than the national average and even rural counties have been significantly impacted.

Also, according to a 2016 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Colorado ranks #1 for use of intoxicating substances. It was the only state in the country that ranked as a top consumer of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and opioid painkillers.

“Yes on 4 is now trying to sell this ballot question as a way to address the opiate crisis, when we know it the question is really about establishing a commercial marijuana industry that will promote pot edibles and allow your neighbors to grow marijuana next door,” Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign Manager Nick Bayer said. “Since legalization of medical and commercial marijuana, Colorado has seen a dramatic increase in opiate abuse and now is the only state that ranks as a heavy user of marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, and opioid painkillers. Question 4 is not a solution to the opiate crisis, it contributes to the problem.”

22 09, 2016

Kennedy Forum: Question 4 Will Lead To Promotion and Sale Of Edibles, Increased Drugged Driving, Proliferation Of Pot Shops in Communities Across Massachusetts

Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign Urges Voters to Consider Question 4 As a Specific Proposal Written By and For The Marijuana Industry, Not Legalization "In Concept"

The promotion and sale of edibles, increased drugged driving, and a proliferation of pot shops in communities across the state are the inevitable results of passing Question 4, the Safe and Healthy Massachusetts campaign stressed in last night’s forum at the Kennedy Institute for the Senate.

Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) highlighted these issues throughout the debate.  The No on 4 Campaign urged voters to consider Question 4 not as a marijuana legalization “concept,” but rather a specific proposal written by the marijuana industry for the marijuana industry. The Yes on 4 campaign has been almost entirely funded by an out-of-state pro-marijuana PAC and the industry-backed Marijuana Policy Project.

To view Senator Lewis’ opening statement outlining the issues, please click here.

Among the specific issues that will result from passing the marijuana industry’s proposal include:

  • The creation of the dangerous edibles market, which will allow the advertising and sale of the highly potent cookies, candies, and sodas. Reports indicate that edibles account for as much as 50% of the marijuana sales in Colorado. Question 4 sets no limits on the potency of these products.
  • An inevitable increase in drugged driving fatalities. In Washington State, they saw a doubling of the number of marijuana-impaired fatalities in the first year after legalization alone.
  • The authorization of people to grow up to 12 marijuana plants worth tens of thousands of dollars at their homes, even over the objection of neighbors. Neighbors and communities have no ability to restrict these home grows, even if the homes are close to schools.
  • There are no limits set on the number of pot shops in Massachusetts. In Colorado, there are already more pot shops than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.
21 09, 2016

More Outside Marijuana Industry Money Flows Into Massachusetts

97% of Contributions This Period Came From An Out-Of-State PAC and National Marijuana Industry; Marijuana Policy Project Has Contributed $188,000 In In-Kind Contributions Alone To Fund Legal And Staff Time In 2016

BOSTON – The Yes on 4 campaign remains almost entirely bought and paid for by the national marijuana industry and out-of-state PACs, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday.

Of the $140,800 in contributions (including in-kind contributions) that came in over the past two weeks, $136,000 (or 96%) of it came from a Washington PAC funded by out-of-state billionaires, marijuana corporate investors, and the Marijuana Policy Project which is funded by marijuana industry executives. Those executives run businesses that include the manufacturing of dangerous edibles products and stand to make millions if Question 4 passes in Massachusetts.

The Marijuana Policy Project, out of Washington DC, has contributed $188,323 in in-kind contributions alone to fund much of the campaign’s legal work and staff time throughout the campaign. The Marijuana Policy Project is the industry backed organization to promote commercial marijuana throughout the country. Its funders include the CEOs of companies that promote and sell dangerous edibles and other products, including:

  • CEO of Dixie Elixirs (a manufacturer of edibles like chocolate covered pretzels and wild berry lemonade)
  • CEO of Med-West (a manufacturer of marijuana edibles)
  • CEO of ArcView Group (a marijuana investment firm)

Statement from Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign Manager Nick Bayer

“The people of Massachusetts are being asked to give a blank check to the Marijuana industry - that’s because the proposed law was written by the industry, and now we know the campaign is being paid for by the industry. They have written a law that allows unchecked edible products and takes control away from homeowners and communities. Voters should reject Question 4 because it will benefit Industry and not the families of Massachusetts.”

The Safe and Healthy Massachusetts campaign is an unprecedented coalition of Massachusetts doctors, nurses, health care, child protection, and community leaders opposing Question 4.  Among those opposing Question 4 includes:  Massachusetts Hospital Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Municipal Association, Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Association of School Superintendents, Construction Industries of Massachusetts, Action for Boston Community Development, Association for Behavioral Healthcare, National Alliance on Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter), Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, Massachusetts Sheriffs Association and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.

Question 4 is also opposed by elected leaders such as Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Sheriff Steve Thompkins, and 120 state senators and representatives from across the Commonwealth.

16 09, 2016

Four Members of Mass. Congressional Delegation Oppose Question 4

BOSTON, MA – Highlighting concerns for public safety, law enforcement, and public health, Congressman Bill Keating, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas today voiced opposition to Ballot Question 4 that would legalize commercial marijuana in the state.

“I have been involved in the recovery community for a long time; I helped to establish an adolescent drug rehab facility, the Cushing House, in South Boston. I've spoken with hundreds of men and women on the road to recovery and I have not met a young addict yet that didn’t start with marijuana. I am opposed to Question Four because I do not think flooding the streets with another drug is good for our young people or good for society. Legalizing commercial marijuana is a move in the wrong direction, we will live to regret it,” said Congressman Lynch (D – 8th District).

"The legalization of marijuana is a contentious issue, and there are valid points on both sides. While I firmly support decriminalization for minor possession and the use of marijuana for medical purposes, I have serious concerns with going so far as full legalization. Many unanswered questions remain about the financial costs, law enforcement implications and broader social impact, and my concerns echo those of the many medical, law enforcement and substance abuse experts in our region opposed to the measure," said Congresswoman Tsongas (D – 3rd District).

"For the past several years, the troubling consequences of patchwork marijuana legalization have played out across the country. Most critically, the research has remained clear -- short-term and long-term use of marijuana has serious health impacts for young people in particular. At a time when Massachusetts is facing a crippling addiction crisis, increasing access to yet another controlled substance undermines the families, individuals, communities, law enforcement officials and health care workers on the front lines of this epidemic every single day," said Congressman Kennedy (D – 4th District).

“Given that there has been a 62% increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths since the 2013 legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, I have some serious concerns with legalization in Massachusetts. Additionally, a growing number of studies indicate frequent use of marijuana at an early age can disrupt brain development.  According to Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is yet to be any research produced on the potential effects of secondhand marijuana smoke on children.  As such, I am a no on question 4,” said Congressman Keating (D – 9th District).

These members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation join an unprecedented, bipartisan group of doctors, nurses, health care professionals, child protection advocates, and community leaders opposing Question 4.  Among those opposing Question 4 are:  the Massachusetts Hospital Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Municipal Association, Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Association of School Superintendents, Construction Industries of Massachusetts, Action for Boston Community Development, Association for Behavioral Healthcare, National Association of Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter), Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, and all Massachusetts District Attorneys.

Question 4 is also opposed by elected leaders such as Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Sheriff Steve Tompkins, and 120 state senators and representatives from across the Commonwealth.

15 09, 2016

ICYMI: Sobriety Tests for Marijuana a Concern as Voters Weigh Legalization

Sobriety Tests for Marijuana a Concern as Voters Weigh Legalization
Statehouse News Service
By: Colin Young
September 14, 2016

With less than eight weeks until voters decide whether to legalize the adult use of marijuana in Massachusetts, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said Wednesday she is concerned that there is currently no way for police to test if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

“One of the concerns with marijuana is, it is clear at some point, you are impaired … but we don’t have a test like we do for alcohol,” Pollack said on Boston Herald Radio. “If the initiative passes, how are we going to be able to enforce the under the influence law?”

She added, “If we don’t have a way of measuring it, the concern is that we may have more impaired driving. And between impaired driving and distracted driving these days, safety is a real concern for all of us.”

Pollack said MassDOT will work with law enforcement, primarily the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, to create “the equivalent of a field sobriety test” so officers suspicious that a driver may have been using marijuana can determine whether someone is too impaired to be driving.

“We absolutely have a drinking and driving problem. We absolutely need to do more about it,” Pollack said. “But at least when it comes to drinking and driving we have a very simple tool. You use a breathalyzer, you set a number and if your blood alcohol is above that number we can at least prosecute that person.”

Supporters of Question 4, which would establish a regulatory and taxation structure for legal marijuana, have said that such concerns are not reason enough to oppose the ballot question.

“The concern about (operating under the influence) is unfounded because by the time this becomes fully implemented there will be a roadside device to test impairment,” Will Luzier, a former assistant attorney general who now serves as campaign manager for the Yes on 4 ballot drive, told the News Service on Tuesday.

Researchers at Stanford University last week announced that they have developed and are testing a “potalyzer” — a device that could detect THC molecules in saliva and report the level of THC in the saliva within three minutes.

Jim Borghesani, communications director for the Yes on 4 campaign, said Tuesday night during a debate hosted by WBZ-TV that such a device is expected to be available to police departments in 2017.

Borghesani argued that legalizing marijuana would actually hasten the development of such technology, and that defeating the November ballot question could stall its progress.

“Right now the only thing driving this technology forward is the fact that society is moving legalization forward,” he said. “That is the exact kind of disruptive technology we need to give law enforcement the power they need to determine if anybody is driving intoxicated.”

Sen. Jason Lewis, who headed up the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana and now is campaigning to defeat the ballot question, said he sees “no reason Massachusetts has to be a guinea pig” for marijuana impairment tests.

“There are people working on that technology. I say let them continue working on it,” Lewis said during the WBZ debate. “Let Colorado figure this out and there’s plenty of time for us to then learn from it.”

But developing a test is only half of the issue. Once there is a way to test for marijuana impairment, the Legislature will have to determine what the legal limit for marijuana will be.

To read full article, click here.