The vast majority of Massachusetts newspapers have urged voters to vote No on 4. Below are excerpts of some of those editorials:
Governor Charlie Baker, city and town officials and local law enforcement say passage of this ballot question would put children at risk and threaten to reverse the state’s progress in combating the growing opioid epidemic. We agree. The time may come when it is right to legalize recreational marijuana. But this is no the time or the method.
As unexpectedly developed in Colorado - Alaska, Oregon and Washington have also made the move - we would see a big market for edibles containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. THC candies, pastries and drinks, often contain much higher THC levels than plants, which themselves have higher concentrations than what boomers were smoking decades ago.
Colorado, which has already enacted a law allowing commercial marijuana sales, has seen surges in impaired driving, drugged-driving fatalities, as well as thousands of people flocking there for the purpose of buying and using drugs. A study recently released in Colorado also showed increasing use of drugs by young people after marijuana was legalized there.
The devil is certainly in this ballot question's details. In general, like a cannabis Book-of-the-Month Club, this law is a totally opt-in process, which means using pot would be legal in every city and town unless communities take steps to outlaw it.
The public's safety also takes a back seat. For instance, there's no reliable way to determine drugged driving. Proponents suggest that such metrics would be available in the future. But there's no doubt the number of impaired drivers -- and the likelihood of serious accidents -- will increase significantly if Question 4 passes.
It is a spectacularly bad idea, both in concept and execution, and we urge a no vote.
The state is fighting a pitched battle against opioid addiction, with hundreds of residents dying each year. To legalize marijuana in the middle of such a fight is not only hypocritical, it is dangerous. Marijuana is not a harmless drug, and let's not pretend that making it easier for adults to use doesn't also make it easier for teens to obtain it.
Given Taunton’s issues with opiates and other drugs and due to the method of the ballot initiative, the Taunton Gazette encourages a No vote on Ballot Question 4, the initiative to legalize marijuana.
Marijuana was decriminalized in Massachusetts in 2008, and medical marijuana was legalized in 2012. But legalizing it creates an atmosphere where it will be easier for anyone to dabble in it, including underaged youth. We aren’t convinced that there are adequate safeguards to keep marijuana, especially edible marijuana, out of the hands of children, nor that public safety will be adequately protected.
We fear that investors behind marijuana sales see it as another for-profit commercial industry to make money off of, not for any “good” that might come of it.
While The Standard-Times supports the medical use of marijuana, and we buy the legitimacy of some of the arguments made by supporters of Question 4, our primary objection to the question is that there should be more time, study, and information about it before full legalization.