Epstein, Steven 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2018
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1 US MA: PUB LTE: Congressman Should Lead On MarijuanaTue, 28 Nov 2017
Source:Salem News (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:38 Added:11/29/2017

Last March, I wrote Congressman Seth Moulton asking him to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 975, the "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act." He responded that, "The federal government ought to respect the will of the voters in states like Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington that have approved marijuana legalization."

Yet, instead of signing on as a co-sponsor, he chooses to leave federal enforcement up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions understands the proper roles of Congress and his office. He stated at his confirmation hearing, "I think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state and the distribution of it an illegal act. If that's something that's not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not the attorney general's job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able."

By "able," he is referring to budgetary constraints of attempting to enforce federal prohibition of a plant that grows in every state.

Mr. Moulton, leaders lead. Get off the fence and sponsor the legislation.

Steven S. Epstein

West Street Georgetown

[end]

2 US MA: PUB LTE: Moulton Should 'Get Off The Fence'Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Source:Daily News, The (Newburyport, MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:40 Added:11/22/2017

To the editor:

Last March, I wrote Congressman Seth Moulton asking him to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 975, the "€œRespect State Marijuana Laws Act."€ He responded that, "€œThe federal government ought to respect the will of the voters in states like Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington that have approved marijuana legalization."

Yet, instead of signing on as a co-sponsor, he chooses to leave federal enforcement up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions understands the proper roles of Congress and his office. He stated at his confirmation hearing, "€œI think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state and the distribution of it an illegal act. If that'€™s something that'€™s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not the attorney general'€™s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able."€ By "€œable"€ he is referring to budgetary constraints of attempting to enforce federal prohibition of a plant that grows in every state.

Mr. Moulton, leaders lead. Get off the fence and sponsor the legislation.

Steven S. Epstein

West Street Georgetown

[end]

3 US MA: PUB LTE: Pot Winning FansTue, 14 Mar 2017
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:26 Added:03/17/2017

President Trump is ill advised to expend resources to shutdown state legal marijuana businesses ("€œPot plans moving forward despite toughtalk from Trump,"€ Feb. 27).

As Jacob Sullum points out in his column: "€œAccording to a recent Quinnipiac University survey, 59 percent of Americans think marijuana ˜should be made legal in the United States,"€™ while 71 percent "€˜oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana."€™ Among Republicans, only 35 percent favored legalization, but 55 percent opposed federal interference with it."€

Steven S. Epstein, Georgetown

[end]

4 US MA: PUB LTE: The Genetics Of Cannabis, HempThu, 14 Apr 2016
Source:Metrowest Daily News (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:33 Added:04/16/2016

Regarding your editorial, "Bringing textiles, old and new, to Massachusetts" (April 5), I write to point out, legislatures and bureaucrats may define hemp as cannabis having only trace amounts of THC, but nature does not. A plant that produces trace amounts of THC crossed with a plant that produces enough THC to be entheogenic produces viable offspring, because they are the same species, cannabis.

In his book, Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico's War on Drugs, Isaac Campos notes that sixteenth and seventeenth century cannabis brought to the new world by the Spanish "found its way into local medical-religious practice." Its genetics must have been programmed to produce enough THC to be entheogenic.

Due to reefer madness plant scientists are unable to grow test plots to determine if cannabis programmed to produce more than trace amounts produce more or better fiber, hurd and seed.

Georgetown, Mass.

[end]

5 US MA: PUB LTE: Epstein: Joining The Conversation OnSun, 28 Jun 2015
Source:Metrowest Daily News (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:33 Added:06/29/2015

The conversation about "legalizing" marijuana begins with acceptance of the principle that adults possess the right to acquire, possess,consume, and cultivate it for their personal use and that of their household members and adult guests.

Bay State Repeal is engaged in that conversation. We published on our website, to members of the news media and the attorney general our first draft of a law that secures to adults their right. It includes answers to Mr. Holmes' questions ("The legalization conversation," June 21).

We are refining it based upon feedback directly from citizens, a few politicians and the AG's office as we work to construct the least restrictive law that focuses on what really matters: suppressing access by those not yet adults.

Bay State Repeal

Georgetown

[end]

6 US MA: PUB LTE: Puffing Away In PeaceTue, 03 Feb 2015
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:24 Added:02/04/2015

Only those yet to realize that marijuana prohibition is ineffectual and unreasonable think the topic of ending it is controversial ("Senate boss to put pot on front burner," Jan. 23). What is controversial about destroying the black market for marijuana? It would make it harder for the under-aged to obtain pot, while allowing adults to enjoy it in peace and pursue their individual happiness as they might when it comes to buying (or making) beer and wine. In addition it would conserve our limited law enforcement resources.

Steven S. Epstein, Georgetown

[end]

7 US MA: PUB LTE: Our Elected Leaders May Just Come to See theThu, 29 Jan 2015
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:40 Added:01/29/2015

It is interesting news that the Senate president, not known as a friend of the initiative process, created a special Senate committee on marijuana, and that Governor Baker, despite saying he is "going to always be opposed to legalizing" recreational use, also is curious about the experiments with legalization in other parts of the country ("Baker staunch in opposition to legalizing marijuana," Metro, Jan. 23).

Perhaps this indicates that the Legislature will attempt, before the printing of the 2016 ballots, to do what activists will surely accomplish with an initiative. For it is long past time to end an ineffectual, unreasonable, and unwholesome policy of prohibition and replace it with reasonable regulation and low rates of taxation.

[continues 96 words]

8 US MA: PUB LTE: Dispensary DelaysFri, 18 Jul 2014
Source:Recorder, The (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:36 Added:07/21/2014

The law commanded the agency to have at least one treatment center open and serving patients in each county by early last winter. The law is also explicit that until treatment centers are open, qualified patients with a recommendation or their designated caregiver registered with the department may obtain marijuana from the "black market" or grow; clearly, an incentive for prompt compliance by the department with its duties.

The department is fiddling and diddling in its duty to register treatment centers. Meanwhile it objects to caregivers with the ability to get marijuana for patients to do so for more than one patient. It is blind to the fact that most patients do not have the ability to grow or otherwise get the variety of the herb they need "on just about every busy street corner or side alley in the commonwealth."

[continues 62 words]

9 US MA PUB LTE: Stirring Up the PotTue, 08 Jul 2014
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S.        Lines:29 Added:07/11/2014

The Herald editorial on medical marijuana wasn't strong enough in its chastisement of the state Department of Public Health, though it did acknowledge that the process is "far behind where it was supposed to be" ("Pot system doped up," July 1). It is in fact as much as nine months behind schedule.

Let's fast-forward to 2016, when a ballot question ending marijuana prohibition for adults is likely to be on the ballot. Will that question give bureaucrats control over implementation, or will it apply the same laws and regulations as those on the cultivation and sale of produce - provided that both growing plants and the product of the plant we call marijuana are not accessible to the underaged?

- - Steven S. Epstein, Georgetown

[end]

10 US MA: PUB LTE: Epstein: The Lag In Registering DispensariesFri, 11 Jul 2014
Source:Milford Daily News, The (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:35 Added:07/11/2014

Why you praise an agency ["DPH marijuana licensing process back on track," July 12] that failed miserably to perform a simple task is incomprehensible in light of the fact that the law commanded the agency to have at least one treatment center open and serving patients in each county by early last winter.

The law is also explicit that until treatment centers open qualified patients with a recommendation or their designated caregiver registered with the department may obtain marijuana from the "black market" or grow; clearly, an incentive for prompt compliance by the department with its duties.

[continues 96 words]

11 US MA: PUB LTE: Legalize Pot, Then Tax ItThu, 22 May 2014
Source:Patriot Ledger, The (Quincy, MA) Author:Epstein, Steven P. Area:Massachusetts Lines:50 Added:05/23/2014

Why is it when it comes to marijuana you blindly adopt the liberal spendthrift claim "the state needs the revenue" when the truth is the preservation of our property and liberty depends upon the electorate being vigilant to insure the Legislature be frugal.

Substance abuse treatment is a worthy recipient of revenue and better arguments for applying the old 5 percent sales tax (not the 6.25 percent sales tax passed in 2009) to marijuana and other products not exempt under current law made. You just did not make them.

[continues 220 words]

12 US MA: PUB LTE: Criminal 'Welfare'Tue, 28 Jan 2014
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:27 Added:02/01/2014

Herald columnist Howie Carr's opposition to the repeal of marijuana prohibition is, in effect, support for maintaining =93welfare=94 to criminals such as James =93Whitey=94 Bulger (Jan. 26). Crime Inc is not the only interest group that benefits from the pot prohibition, just the most visible. These welfare benefits cost taxpayers more than the =93stoners=94 receive should they ever get on the dole.

=AD Steven S. Epstein,

Georgetown

[end]

13 US MA: PUB LTE: Legalize Marijuana In Mass. - - But Keep KidsSat, 11 Jan 2014
Source:Sentinel And Enterprise, The (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:44 Added:01/12/2014

The concerns for society and the children expressed in "Colorado's new high not for Massachusetts" ignores two indisputable facts:

* No matter marijuana's legal status, adults and kids who want it will find a way to get it from those willing to supply it.

* According to surveys of Massachusetts High School students, a majority never try it.

The first fact implicates the fundamental issue of government: the "consent of the governed."

The second, the claim children have a latent desire to use marijuana is a delusion.

[continues 101 words]

14 US MA: PUB LTE: Mass. Should Give Adults Right To Grow, SmokeFri, 10 Jan 2014
Source:Lowell Sun (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:38 Added:01/10/2014

The concerns for society and the children expressed in "Colorado's new high not for Massachusetts" editorial (The Sun, Jan. 5) ignores two indisputable facts: no matter marijuana's legal status, adults and kids who want it will find a way to get it from those willing to supply it; and, according to surveys of Massachusetts High School students, a majority never try it. The first fact implicates the fundamental issue of government: the "consent of the governed." The second, the claim children have a latent desire to use marijuana, is a delusion. Yet it is true Massachusetts should not copy Colorado's way of ending a prohibition that never should have been. Instead, the Bay State should allow adults to engage in the cultivation, commerce and consumption of marijuana as they may with any other herb. Require adults take steps to prevent access to growing plants and marijuana by children and punish distribution to minors with significant jail time and/or fine. Such a policy would seek our shared goal of suppressing access to marijuana by children in a constitutionally proper and fiscally responsible manner.

STEVEN S. EPSTEIN Georgetown

Editor's note: Attorney Steven S. Epstein helped establish the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition in 1989, and more recently helped establish Bay State Repeal, a state ballot question committee dedicated to the repeal of prohibition in 2016.

[end]

15 US MA: PUB LTE: Quit The Fear Mongering On MarijuanaThu, 02 Jan 2014
Source:Herald News, The (Fall River, MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:47 Added:01/04/2014

I share with Stephen Gray Wallace the goal of "keeping young people safe, alive and in pursuit of the positive youth outcomes they seek." However, I question his understanding of the latest "Monitoring the Future" data concerning adolescent marijuana use reflected in his recent guest opinion.

Actually, the latest Monitoring the Future data admittedly reveals no statistically significant change over the recent past. Teen use remains well below the data point established in 1979.

This "sky is falling" worldview blames recent law reforms for an increase in teen use that does not exist. It ignores the Northwestern study author's conclusion that more study is needed to determine "whether cannabis use contributes to these observed shape differences or whether they are biomarkers of a vulnerability to the effects of cannabis that predate its misuse."

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16 US MA: PUB LTE: 'Gateway' Drug Claim For Marijuana Doesn't FlyMon, 23 Dec 2013
Source:Daily Hampshire Gazette (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:47 Added:12/24/2013

The Northampton physician who wrote a recent letter is correct that the debate about banning e-cigarettes and legalizing marijuana, as with any legislative action, requires "a sober consideration of what is fact." Yet he invokes the long discredited speculation that marijuana use is a "gateway" to use of other drugs.

He ignores the fact that debates over public policy choices must also consider the constitutional limits on the power of fallible federal, state and municipal legislative bodies under our constitutions. When it comes to marijuana, depriving adults of the liberty of engaging in its cultivation, commerce and consumption lacks the consent of a large segment of the governed - likely a significant majority.

[continues 139 words]

17 US MA: PUB LTE: Time To Legalize ItFri, 11 Oct 2013
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:29 Added:10/11/2013

The (marijuana) genie is already out of the bag and has beenfor decades ("Don't let the genie out of the bag," Oct. 6). Now, I couldquibble with Robert J. Petrella's claims in the Herald of pot's risk. ButWilliam F. Buckley Jr. nailed it nine years ago when he wrote, "although thereis a perfectly respectable case against using marijuana, the penalties imposedon those who reject that case, or who give way to weakness of resolution, arevery difficult to defend."

As for the claims regarding the "signal" that legalizingmarijuana would send to children, the "2011 Massachusetts Youth Risk BehaviorSurvey," published in 2012, reports a statistically significant decrease in usebefore the age of 13.

Steven S. Epstein, Georgetown

[end]

18 US MA: OPED: Marijuana Prohibition Is Bound To EndSun, 15 Sep 2013
Source:North Shore Sunday (Beverly, MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:97 Added:09/17/2013

North of Boston - Late last month, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it is "deferring its right to challenge" the Colorado and Washington initiatives that "tax and regulate marijuana like alcoholic beverages." The announcement and accompanying memorandum, coming after Senator Leahy announced Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the conflict between federal and state law, signal the administration is willing to discuss marijuana law reform with Congress and the states.

As the conversation proceeds, three things are important to remember. First, as the department concedes, federal resources are inadequate to a task that "traditionally relied on state and local authorities." Second, no state in our federal system is required to address marijuana activity.

[continues 530 words]

19 US MA: OPED: Guest Opinion: Marijuana Prohibition Is Bound ToThu, 12 Sep 2013
Source:Herald News, The (Fall River, MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S. Area:Massachusetts Lines:120 Added:09/13/2013

Westport- Late last month, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it is "deferring its right to challenge" the Colorado and Washington initiatives that "tax and regulate marijuana like alcoholic beverages." The announcement and accompanying memorandum, coming after Senator Leahy announced Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the conflict between federal and state law, signal the administration is willing to discuss marijuana law reform with Congress and the states.

As the conversation proceeds, three things are important to remember. First, as the department concedes, federal resources are inadequate to a task that "traditionally relied on state and local authorities." Second, no state in our federal system is required to address marijuana activity.

[continues 532 words]

20 US MA OPED: Marijuana Prohibition Is Bound To EndThu, 12 Sep 2013
Source:Ipswich Chronicle (MA) Author:Epstein, Steven S.        Lines:98 Added:09/12/2013

North of Boston - Late last month, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it is "deferring its right to challenge" the Colorado and Washington initiatives that "tax and regulate marijuana like alcoholic beverages." The announcement and accompanying memorandum, coming after Senator Leahy announced Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the conflict between federal and state law, signal the administration is willing to discuss marijuana law reform with Congress and the states.

As the conversation proceeds, three things are important to remember. First, as the department concedes, federal resources are inadequate to a task that "traditionally relied on state and local authorities." Second, no state in our federal system is required to address marijuana activity.

[continues 527 words]


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