Once again, we’re seeing a long battle ahead for Massachusetts legalization efforts. It was less than two weeks ago when the opposition started showing up around the state. Their reasoning did not waiver when compared to other groups in opposition to legalization all over the country – keeping it out of the hands of children, using unreliable statistics and generally claiming that it’s for some sort of greater good that we should keep failing prohibition laws in place.
Joining their crusade is the Retailers Association, who accounts for 3,200 small and midsized businesses throughout the state. They have said that they do not agree with the idea of legalization based on risk factors involving job safety, as well as reports of potential higher absenteeism among those who test positive for THC. Then of course, they followed up with how it is not the right thing for communities and youth.
Aside from having many large groups joining the fight to bury the initiative, there have also been lawsuits filed, challenging the initiative in courts. There are hearings scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Judicial Court – the highest state court – to determine how to move forward. The two cases are filed separately, the first being a case against the name of the initiative, which would become law, which is simply “Marijuana Legalization”.
Those who filed that case are claiming that the title of the initiative is misleading and that it does not give off the impression that possession, use and cultivation is still illegal for anyone under 21. Many campaigns title their initiative things like “Adult Right to Cannabis” or “Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol” – which yes, give off the impression of something a little more limited – but it shouldn’t be the title of the initiative that counts as long as the wording reflects the nature of the law and it is explained to those who sign the petition.
The other case was filed by the Bellotti Law Group, who are also claiming that the initiative is misleading, but in a different sense. Their claim that it would allow for the sale of genetically modified forms of marijuana with THC concentrations of 60+ or higher – though I would hardly call this initiative misleading just because it doesn’t put a cap on THC potency.
Is there any good news? Well, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol doesn’t seem to think there is much for them to worry about. They are continuing to collect signatures up until the day they must turn them in and are getting excited to see their initiative on the ballot this November.
‘‘This is simply a last-ditch attempt to block Massachusetts voters from expressing their opinion about regulating and taxing marijuana,’’ the group said. ‘‘We’re confident it will fail and we will continue our work to give voters a voice in November.’’
It’s good to see them keeping their spirits up, even with the large numbers of people joining the opposition as they close in on the final days of signature gathering. It’s going to be rough, but with enough support and enough people to dispel the lies told by those who are against them, Massachusetts could definitely see marijuana legalization this year.