Pubdate: Sat, 16 Apr 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.
Author: Chris Villani


Mayor: Pro-Marijuana People Must Explain Its Importance

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh responded to criticism from a 
pro-marijuana legalization group that called him a "hypocrite" for 
opposing pot legalization while supporting measures they say promote 
easier access to alcohol - such as keeping bars open later and 
granting more liquor licenses - by challenging the group to make its 
case for legalization.

"I am not going to get into name calling, they can call me whatever 
they want," Walsh said. "What I would like to ask them to do ... is 
to explain to the people of Massachusetts why it's important to 
legalize marijuana. I think that would be a good start for the campaign."

The group, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, leveled 
the charge one day after Gov. Charlie Baker, Walsh and other top 
officials announced the formation of a committee to fight a likely 
November ballot question that would legalize recreational marijuana.

The group unveiled a poster outside the State House showing the faces 
of Baker and Walsh, who is a recovering alcoholic, with a speech 
bubble that read: "Our Health Policy: Drink More Alcohol."

Will Luzier, campaign manager for the pro-marijuana group, said pot 
was less toxic and less addictive than alcohol "and does not 
contribute to violent or risky behavior."

Lizzy Guyton, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Baker believes 
voters should get more than "unfortunate and insensitive attacks from 
those seeking to open a new billion-dollar commercial marijuana 
industry in the commonwealth." Walsh said past efforts to change 
marijuana laws have made persuasive arguments and he challenged this 
group to do the same.

"In the past there has been the argument for the decriminalization of 
marijuana and the folks that fought for that made an argument, and a 
good argument, for why marijuana should be decriminalized," Walsh 
said. "The next step was medical marijuana and folks who advocated 
for that made a good argument for why medical marijuana should be 
allowed in Massachusetts. I am not quite sure why marijuana should be 
legal in Massachusetts."

Herald wire services contributed to this report.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom