Pubdate: Fri, 15 Apr 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.
Authors: Jack Encarnacao and Matt Stout


Advocates for legalizing pot invoked "Reefer Madness" to mock 
opposition by top elected leaders - prompting Mayor Martin J. Walsh 
to fire back there is nothing funny about a detox ward.

Walsh, Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo joined 
forces yesterday in a public appeal yesterday against legalizing 
marijuana, warning, "We've learned from the recent experience of 
other states - legal marijuana leads to higher rates of addiction, 
lower academic success, and significant health consequences for our kids."

Bill Downing of Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition countered, 
"Unfortunately, our governor and the mayor of Boston suffer from a 
mental disorder, it's called 'Reefer Madness.' " He was referring to 
the much-lampooned 1930s film that depicts dire consequences for marijuana use.

"There's a lot of people that suffer from it, and it makes them think 
that marijuana's a very dangerous drug when actually it's not," Downing said.

He said the three were paying too much attention to "people who have 
career interests in maintaining prohibition" - which he said includes 
cops and treatment centers.

Walsh, pushing back at Downing's jibe, said, "I'll take him to a 
detox and we can talk to some people in detox and ask them about 
that. I haven't heard a real good reason for why we would legalize marijuana."

Baker said he was alarmed by details in a state Senate report from a 
fact-finding trip to Colorado about the "ready availability of so 
many different forms of edibles and candy and brownies and cake and cookies."

"I mean, the easy distribution issues this creates, especially for 
kids - my conclusion on this is, this is just the wrong thing for 
Massachusetts," Baker said.

A statewide survey earlier this month by the Western New England 
University Polling Institute found 57 percent of voters favor 
legalization and 35 percent oppose it.

Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like 
Alcohol, said, "The truth is that the greatest danger associated with 
marijuana is its illegal status. Our opponents seem to prefer that 
criminals control the marijuana market and sell untested, unlabeled 
products to people of any age."

State Rep. David Rogers of Cambridge, who supports legalization, 
called key officials' opposition "a respectful difference of opinion 
among people of good faith."

"It's important to remember, we're not going from zero use to full 
blown legalization," Rogers said. "We're going from a product that is 
widely in use illegally, and whatever public health and public safety 
effects we're going to feel, we're feeling them already."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom