UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Marijuana Questions Win Across Massachusetts

The public policy questions regarding marijuana swept the ballot in 20 Massachusetts state representative districts in the election Tuesday, November 5.

Voters in 19 districts, including 44 cities and towns, unanimously instructed their representatives to vote to substitute a fine for criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Results ranged from Methuen’s 55% to Brookline’s 70% majority of all votes cast. Across nine districts Boston voters returned a 61.6% majority in favor of the question.

“These results top even our success in the last election cycle,” stated MASS CANN president Bill Downing, referring to the 18-city sweep in the year 2000. “We never lose when we ask the voters if they want to waste any more tax dollars on these petty arrests.”

A question favoring medical marijuana carried the 14th Worcester district with a 61% majority, and a question on allowing Massachusetts farmers to participate in the growing hemp industry was approved by 52% of the voters in the 2nd Franklin district.

The campaign was bolstered in its closing days by support from law enforcement officials and by a special study, funded by the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and conducted by former Boston University economics chair Dr. Jeffrey Miron, which predicted that marijuana decriminalization could save the Commonwealth at least $24 million annually. The Miron report further stated that “there is no reason to expect a substantial increase in marijuana use in Massachusetts” from eliminating the criminal penalties.

It is now up to the 19 representatives who were so instructed to join Representatives Balser ( D – Newton ), Jehlen (D – Somerville), Rushing ( D – Boston ) and Swan ( D – Springfield ) and Senator Shannon (D – Winchester) in sponsoring legislation to effectuate the will of the people as expressed in the privacy of the voting booth.

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition\NORML

A State Affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

P.O. Box 0266, Georgetown, MA 01833-0366