Medical marijuana is already legal in the state of Massachusetts, and now activists are working to open the door to make recreational use legal.
In a state as famously liberal as Massachusetts—in over half a century, it’s citizens have voted for the Republican presidential candidate just twice—the November ballot measure might seem like a slam dunk. But the succinctly named Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is facing stiff opposition from the both Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
“Given Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is a recovering alcoholic, it’s strange to see him working to expand the reach of booze, and pushing back against the responsible use of marijuana, which is widely regarded as less dangerous and habit-forming.”
The pair, who recently penned an op-ed for the Boston Globe arguing against the measure, are falling back on the venerable protect the children argument, even as they recognize legalization could be a billion-dollar industry in the state.
Of course, there’s nothing new about politicians resisting sensible regulation of drugs, but as The Cannabist points out, there’s an undeniable hypocrisy at work in in Massachusetts, as the highest profile opponents of recreational marijuana are also pushing to relax regulation of alcohol.
During Baker’s term in the Governor’s Mansion, the state has seen the sales tax on alcohol repealed, and Walsh has actually supported a push for more bars, along with longer operating hours.
Now, in a city as synonymous with booze as Boston, none of these measures should come as a particular surprise. Vigorous, world-famous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have ensured the city is as famous for the Dropkick Murphys and vomiting leprechauns as it is for patriots like Paul Revere.
But given that Mayor Marty Walsh is a recovering alcoholic, it’s strange to see him simultaneously pushing to expand the reach of a substance which he personally knows is addictive, and pushing back against the responsible use of another, which is widely acknowledged to be far less dangerous and habit forming.
Hopefully, the voters will send a clear message at the polls this November, and the people of Massachusetts will soon be able to light up legally. Stay tuned.
[ via Cannabist, image courtesy AP Graphics ]