Pubdate: Tue, 29 Mar 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.
Author: Donna Goodison


Poll: 62 Percent of Mass. Firms Oppose Ballot Measure

Employers are sounding the alarm about a proposed November state 
ballot question that calls for legalization and regulation of 
recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, coming out heavily against 
it in a newly released survey.

Of 180 Bay State employers who responded to the survey question posed 
by Associated Industries of Massachusetts - the state's largest 
employer group - 62 percent opposed the ballot measure. Thirty-eight 
percent said they're in favor.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol's referendum will be 
on the Nov. 1 statewide ballot and is widely expected to pass - 
prompting the state Senate to prepare to draft regulations in 
advance. The measure would legalize marijuana for adults 21 years and 
older, and license, regulate and tax its production and distribution 
in a manner similar to alcohol.

"There are real practical business management issues and human 
resources issues that would be created if the ballot question were 
approved," AIM spokesman Christopher Geehern said.

AIM members are worried about being caught between a permissive state 
law and federal law - which tends to be the controlling jurisdiction 
in employment cases - that still bans pot, Geehern said - especially 
companies that use heavy equipment.

"Employers have worked pretty hard over the past several decades to 
create safe workplaces, and that includes creating drug-free 
workplaces to protect the well-being of workers, of customers, of 
vendors, of anybody who's on-site," Geehern said. "This really ... 
will set back those efforts. It affects productivity, it affects 
workers' compensation insurance rates."

Will Luzier, manager of the ballot question campaign, maintains 
nothing in the proposed law "suggests that safety-sensitive employees 
would be allowed to use marijuana.

"The initiative says specifically that employers are not required to 
allow consumption in the workplace, and employers retain the 
authority to enforce workplace policies restricting employee 
consumption of marijuana," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom