Pubdate: Thu, 04 Aug 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Note: Prints only very short LTEs.


This week Boston City Council President Michelle Wu suggested it 
ought to be legal for individuals to purchase and consume pot. But if 
Wu has her way it would be unacceptable for them to take their 
goodies home from the pot store in a plastic shopping bag.

Yes, in the same week that Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson announced 
their support for a November ballot question that would legalize the 
recreational use of marijuana, Wu ordered a study into how Boston 
might reduce the use of plastic shopping bags - including the 
possibility of an outright ban.

Call it the guiding philosophy of so many progressive policymakers - 
government unrestrained in its power to regulate individual choices, 
except, maybe, when those individuals want to get high.

Wu and Jackson this week joined a handful of other elected officials 
supporting Question 4, framing it as a social justice issue and 
citing racial disparities in the enforcement of drug laws. Wu, for 
example, wonders why blacks and Hispanics should be imprisoned on pot 
charges at higher rates than, say, her old Harvard classmates.

But surely she is aware that since 2008 possession of less than an 
ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts has been a civil offense. No 
adult will go to jail for that.

Are some criminals locked up for possessing much larger amounts? 
Maybe a handful. For trafficking? Yes, as many ought to be, and that 
would still be the case even if Question 4 passes.

And if this new marijuana industry decides to target low-income, 
minority neighborhoods to set up shop - as reports suggest it has in 
Colorado - where is the "social justice" in that?

Jackson, for his part, notes that legalizing and taxing pot sales 
will generate revenue that would help fund treatment for people 
addicted to opioids. Of course many if not most of those people get 
their start by .. smoking marijuana.

We'd respect some of these officials more if, instead of hiding 
behind contrived excuses, they'd just say they think pot should be 
legal because a lot of people like to get high. At least it would be credible.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom