Pubdate: Mon, 12 Dec 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: Laurel J. Sweet
Page: 4


City Hall, cops, pols spearhead informational campaign

Cops, City Hall and lawmakers are bracing for Thursday's onset of
legalized "recreational" marijuana in Massachusetts, determined that
if they can't dissuade tokers from lighting up they can at least
provide information plus some vigilant law enforcement to try to keep
people safe.

Bay Staters voted last month to permit adults 21 and older to possess
up to an ounce of weed while out in public - 10 ounces at home - while
cultivating up to 12 plants per household. Selling pot remains illegal
while the Legislature works on regulations to license retailers.

And while pot-opposing Mayor Martin J. Walsh told the Herald he
believes "some people who took that vote will regret it some day," his
administration has launched a website -
- - to answer people's questions about legal pot.

City Hall also plans to turn to Twitter Thursday with graphics
designed to inform people how the new law works.

"The voters spoke. I'm going to support the will of the voter,
obviously," Walsh told the Herald yesterday. "There are some major
concerns we have ... I don't think it was well-thought out when it was
put on the ballot ... Now it's legal, so if you're smoking a joint in
your car and you're driving down the street, and a police officer
pulls you over for whatever reason, nothing they can do about the
joint. At least if you have an open container of alcohol in the car,
the police can take action. Those are questions we're going to have to
figure out."

But driving stoned is still illegal.

State police spokesman David Procopio said legalization "does not mean
that is OK or legal to drive under the influence of marijuana or to
smoke or consume it while driving. Operating a motor vehicle during or
after use of marijuana remains illegal and extremely dangerous to the
driver, his or her passengers, and the other motorists around them. We
will be very aggressively looking for any vehicles being operated
erratically, and our troopers are trained in observing the
physiological effects of impairment and drug use."

Smoking pot - like smoking tobacco - is illegal in Boston parks and
any city property, as well as in restaurants, bars and public spaces,
Lt. Michael McCarthy said. He added police "will enforce the
prohibition on persons under the age of 21." Moving forward, he said
the department "will work closely" with the future state-appointed
Cannabis Control Commission "to oversee the process of

Lizzy Guyton, spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Baker, who like Walsh
opposed legalizing pot, said, "The administration will continue to
work closely with lawmakers, educators and public safety and public
health professionals on the implementation of the law to ensure the
transition protects the interests of our communities and families
while adhering to the will of the voters."
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MAP posted-by: Matt