WASHINGTON — Voters in California and Massachusetts have approved ballot initiatives to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use, and voters in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas have approved medical marijuana programs.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released the following statement on Massachusetts Ballot Question 4, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana:
“Lt. Governor Polito and I are proud to have worked with an unprecedented bipartisan coalition that has voiced concerns with this proposal, and our administration will work closely with lawmakers, educators, and public safety and public health professionals to ensure this transition protects the interests of our communities and families,” the statement said.
Heading into the election, four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — had adopted laws that legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use, and 25 states had adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws.
Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, said: “This is the most momentous Election Day in history for the movement to end marijuana prohibition. From Los Angeles to Boston, voters are casting their ballots in favor of sensible marijuana policy reforms. Today’s results are right in line with national polls showing record-high support for making marijuana legal.”
He said these votes send a clear message to federal officials that it’s time to stop arresting and incarcerating marijuana users.
“Congress must take action to ease the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Once this new batch of state laws takes effect over the next couple of months, marijuana will be legal in more than half a dozen states, and we expect several more to follow during the 2017-2018 legislative and election cycles,” said Kampia. “The end of prohibition is near, and it would be a mistake for the federal government to continue waging war on its own nonviolent citizens. How do you ask a DEA agent to be the last man to enforce a mistake?”
He said most voters do not think otherwise law-abiding citizens should be criminalized for using a product that is much safer than alcohol.
“They want marijuana to be sold inside regulated, taxpaying businesses, not on the streets, where sales enrich cartels and drug dealers. There is a general consensus that law enforcement should be fighting serious crimes rather than enforcing failed and deeply unpopular policies,” Kampia said.