As a pending ballot initiative for November aims to legalize the sale medical marijuana in the state, a bill filed by State Representative Ellen Story seeks to allow Massachusetts residents over 21 to legally purchase or grow marijuana for personal use. Representative Story says the bill represents the opinion of her district…
The bill was written by Richard M. Evans, a lawyer from Northampton. Bill Downing, a spokesman for MassCann, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition says that legalizing pot would keep drug dealers from targeting teens by taking a product off the black market. By regulating the sale of marijuana, he says that teen use of marijuana could shrink.
Jeff Harness, Director of the Western Massachusetts Center for Healthy Communities disagrees. He says that taxing and regulating marijuana would do nothing to keep it out of the hands of young people.
Harness also cited medical concerns related to teen use of marijuana.
A recent report released by the Partnership at Drugree.org – formerly the Partnership for a Drug Free America - said that rate of teens using marijuana is going up. The study shows that nearly 10% of high school students polled smoke pot 20 or more times per month.
Representative Ellen Story says she knows the bill has little chance of even being considered for debate, yet despite warnings, legalizing and taxing marijuana would bring in valuable revenue to the State of Massachusetts.
Any action by the state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes or otherwise would still be considered illegal under federal law.