The state of Massachusetts is well on its way to being one of the next states to end the decades long prohibition on marijuana – however, that was not without its challenges, as with any campaign for such a major change. Those who are running the ballot initiative, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, submitted far more than enough signatures for their initiative to be approved for the November ballot – but there were still a couple of pending court cases that needed to be taken care of before it could be approved.
Those cases were both against wording within the initiative itself – one that claimed the title was not clear enough and another that opposed the wording, explaining that “marijuana products” was not enough to inform voters who are not particularly 420 savvy that edibles would be one of those products. They brought their cases to court about a month ago now and the final decision of the Supreme Court Judge was finally revealed: the initiative will appear on the ballot – but the language will be changed to be much more specific.
Originally, the title of the initiative was simply “Marijuana Legalization”, which for some was simply too vague. Now it will be titled “Legalization, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana”, which is supposed to more accurately reflect the intention of the initiative (which is to legalize marijuana for adult use, while regulating and taxing the cultivation and sale of the plant).
They have also determined that the “Yes Vote” summary (which should inform voters of exactly what a “yes vote” on the initiative would mean) should be amended – and considering the fact that ballots are to be printed in July there was no time to issue an order for the revision and the courts took it upon themselves to revise the initiative wording.
They made sure to mention that only adults age 21 or older will be able to legally cultivate, use or transfer cannabis in limited amounts, and they took out the original wording that made mention of THC. It also mentions that it would regulate and tax the commercial sale of cannabis.
“The court issued a victory for the voters of Massachusetts today, assuring that their voices will be heard on the issue of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, an approach that is working in Colorado and other states and will work in Massachusetts,” he said (Campaign spokesman Jim Borghesani).
In the end, it all appears to have come down to being specific enough in the wording of the ballot initiative – but the courts did decide that the petitions were gathered fairly and that the measure will be included on the ballots this November, officially putting Massachusetts on the list of states that might legalize marijuana in 2016. However, they still have their work cut out for them with the opposition that has been growing over the last few months – but this victory puts them one step closer.