Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jan 2012
Source: Valley Advocate (Easthampton, MA)
Copyright: 2012 New Mass Media
Author: Maureen Turner
Cited: Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coaltion


Massachusetts voters are likely to find a question about legalizing
medical marijuana on their ballots at the November election-and a
new poll suggests that supporters of the question have reason to be
optimistic. MassCann, the commonwealth's chapter of the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, recently
released the results of a public opinion poll that asked respondents
their thoughts on marijuana policy. The poll didn't ask specifically
about medical marijuana, but rather sought opinions about broader
legalization efforts, and found a firm majority of respondents in
favor of significant reform.

According to MassCann/NORML, when asked the question: "Would you
support or oppose a ballot question that legalized marijuana and
regulated it in the same manner as other agricultural commodities but
prohibited sale to underage persons?" 58 percent of respondents said
they'd support such a measure, while 35 percent were opposed and 7
percent were undecided. In addition, 62 percent said they'd support
a law that regulated the sale and taxation of marijuana in the same
way alcohol is regulated. The poll, conducted by DAPA Research Inc.,
questioned 600 Massachusetts voters by phone, according to MassCann.
It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent. MassCann
released the results last month at the annual Massachusetts Cannabis

In a press release, Steven Epstein, a MassCann founder and activist
attorney, said, "The data indicates that Massachusetts voters are
more ready than voters in any other state to end prohibition and
establish reasonable regulation of cannabis cultivation and commerce
for all purposes." The results put pressure on state legislators to
pass a medical marijuana law, Epstein added.

If they don't, voters will likely get the chance to decide the
matter themselves. Activists collecting signatures for a medical
marijuana ballot question are expected to meet the 68,911-signature
threshold that would force the Legislature to take up the issue. If
the Legislature does not enact the measure by next May, supporters of
the proposal will have until July to collect another 11,485 signatures
to get the question on the November ballot.

The ballot question is based on a pending bill sponsored by state Sen.
Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst). It would allow patients with medical
conditions including glaucoma and cancer to legally obtain up to a
60-day supply of marijuana for medical use with the approval of a
doctor. Sales would be regulated by the Mass. Department of Public

Medical marijuana is already legal in 16 states, including Rhode
Island and Maine, as well as in Washington, D.C. In addition to
Massachusetts, five other states are considering legalizing medical
marijuana, among them New Hampshire and New York.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D