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Marijuana on the Ballot -- Raising Healthy Teens vs. Legalization

The Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force is holding an informational forum on marijuana use among youths and the ballot question on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

The following is a guest column by Marilyn G. Belmonte of the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force:

Massachusetts’ youth smoke marijuana at a rate 30% higher than the national average. Now there is a big question on the horizon that may cause the number of Massachusetts teen marijuana smokers to rise. 

Ballot question 3 is stated as follows:

“A yes vote would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana, allowing patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.”

We all agree that sick and suffering patients need compassionate care.  But there is concern about how this proposed marijuana law will potentially allow greater access to marijuana including to our teens. The proposed law has notable loopholes that require further examination. To educate the public about how this law is written, the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force will hold a community forum on Tuesday October 9 at 7pm in the Murray-Kelly Wing of the Council on Aging at 61 Center Street. 

Presentation of the specific details of this controversial proposed law will include:

  • No minimum age requirement to purchase marijuana.
  • 35 marijuana dispensaries in the state, 5 per county, in the first year. More can open after the first year.   
  •  Non-medical employees will distribute marijuana instead of doctors, nurses, pharmacists or health professionals.
  • Legal possession of a 60-day supply of marijuana. The exact amount is undefined.
  • Growing marijuana plants in the home.
  • Any illness can qualify for marijuana, not just serious or terminal illnesses.
  • Marijuana laced foods would also be allowed.
  • Marijuana remains illegal under federal law regardless of how Massachusetts votes.

For more information please attend this educational forum on marijuana Tuesday October 9, at 7pm at the Murray Murray-Kelly Wing of the Council on Aging, 61 Center Street, Burlington MA. 

Phil October 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM
It is time to stop the non sensical approach to marijuana. This law will not increase the likelihood of availability of the drug since it is already readily available on the street and if you really wanted to you could grow it on your front lawn. Prohibition does nothing to reduce the availability of a drug. In fact it may enhance the production of it because the profit becomes higher. DIdn't we already learn this with alcohol in hte 1930's? All current anti marijuana laws do is fill the courts with prosecutions and saddle young people with convictions that will dog them for a lifetime. Legalize marijuana completely and move on to fightiong seriopus crime.
Gustavo Picciuto October 04, 2012 at 07:13 PM
It seems hilarious to me that some people still think that if we legalize medicinal Marijuana there would be a spike in teenage use when in fact it is has been shown in states like Colorado where medicinal marijuana is legal that teenage use has actually dropped below the national average; "The drop in use by Colorado teens, a drop below the national average, coincides with the same period that the medical marijuana industry developed in the state, between 2009 and 2011.". Check it out at the huff post here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/07/marijuana-usage-down-in-t_n_1865095.html. Kids are not stupid and we should treat them with respect and educate them instead of using hysteria and false data and propaganda to further the draconian policy of prohibition.
Paul Hurteau October 05, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Finding out that my teen smoked cigarettes or drank whiskey would upset me more. Why not step up enforcement there?

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