Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jun 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.
Author: Bob McGovern


State Supreme Court Mulls Marijuana Bill

The state's highest court is mulling whether the proposal to legalize 
marijuana for recreational use should go up in smoke after a group of 
concerned voters said the language of the ballot measure is too vague 
to be constitutional - and opens the door to all kinds of 
hyper-potent pot products.

"The voters were significantly misled when they were told that this 
was going to legalize marijuana," said John Scheft, an attorney 
representing the voters. "It's going to do much more, and wouldn't a 
fundamental question of any voter be: What are you asking me to legalize?"

Scheft told the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday that the petition 
summary, prepared by the state attorney general's office, was not 
specific enough to let voters know that they could be legalizing more 
than just marijuana. He said that concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol, 
the mind-altering compound found in marijuana, is going to end up in 
food, drinks and other products that voters may not know about.

"The people who signed to put this on the ballot were given 
misinformation," Scheft said. "The only neutral source of information 
they had - the only thing that is required on the signature paper - 
is the neutral summary from the attorney general's office. That 
neutral summary misled them."

Justice Geraldine Hines asked whether the summary could simply be 
amended to include information on the other products that marijuana 
could be found in. Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly asked whether 
Scheft's concerns would be eliminated by regulations if the proposal passed.

Scheft said neither would fix the problem and that the summary itself 
is fatally flawed and should be removed from the ballot.

"The things that are being sold and used are not the leafy, green, 
natural-growing substance called marijuana," Scheft said. "If you 
were a voter, wouldn't you want to know the most dangerous substance 
that you're being asked to legalize?"

Attorney General Maura Healey's office stood by the summary.

"There are many different ways marijuana can be ingested, and we 
couldn't possibly contain them all in a fair and concise summary," 
said Robert Toone of the AG's office. "We have to use 
generalizations, and the term marijuana products captures all the 
different uses."

But Justice Robert Cordy wasn't convinced, and peppered Toone with 
questions about the adequacy of the summary.

"Having read your summary, I would have no idea that this authorized 
the infusion of hallucinogens into food or drink for sale at all - 
none," Cordy said. "Don't you think the public, the voters, would 
sort of like to know that?"

The court took no immediate action, and it is unclear how soon the 
justices will decide whether the ballot measure can stand or should 
be rewritten or scrapped.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom