Pubdate: Wed, 09 Mar 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.


The state senators who traveled to Colorado on a marijuana field trip 
were the butt of some jokes (including in this space). But the 
special Senate committee has produced some helpful research.

Normalizing the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana in 
Massachusetts would, of course, still be in conflict with federal 
law. That's the first knock against the campaign to get a 
legalization question on the November ballot, but it's certainly not the last.

As the senators discovered, a mile-high stack of legal complications 
would proceed from a vote in favor of legalization.

As just one example, the Senate report notes there is "no 
well-accepted standard for determining driver impairment from driver 
intoxication [from marijuana]."

Even if there were, thanks to a series of rulings from the state's 
highest court after voters made the possession of small amounts of 
marijuana a civil infraction, no cop can stop a vehicle simply 
because he smells burning marijuana or, presumably, even if he sees a 
driver cruising along with a joint hanging out of his mouth. The same 
can't be said for a driver sending a text message or one who is 
holding an open container of alcohol, but there you have it.

Meanwhile, as the Senate report notes, scientific studies are clear 
that youthful marijuana users "face serious health and brain 
development risks," and those risks increase "the younger the 
individual and the more intensely that marijuana is consumed." In 
Colorado, legalization has led to increased pot use by younger users 
(big surprise).

The easy answer would be to forbid marijuana use by individuals who 
are under 21. But the ballot question doesn't do that.

There are a million other knocks against this campaign, including the 
increased potency of the pot in circulation today, and the sheer 
lunacy of promoting increased use of a drug that so often leads to 
abuse of harder drugs, including the opiates that are killing young 
people in incredible numbers in this state.

The Senate committee doesn't take a position on legalization, but 
simply lays out guidelines for future regulations. The easiest way to 
avoid the inevitable chaos is for the question never to get to the 
ballot in the first place.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom