Creem supports marijuana reform

By Rutul Patel
Published: October 2010

After accumulating over 4,000 signatures from residents of the First Middlesex and Norfolk Districts (Newton, Norwood and Wellesley) the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) attached a non-binding question regarding the possible legalization of marijuana to this year’s State Senatorial Election ballot.
Senator Cynthia Creem, the representative for Newton, supports legalization, which makes her one of 40 senators who openly support the legalization of marijuana.
The question will ask voters to vote either yes or no on legislation that would allow the state to regulate the taxation, cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults. After the decriminalization of marijuana in quantities less than an ounce, this ballot question is one of the first public steps towards marijuana law reforms.
Although Creem supports the legalization of marijuana, just as she supported its decriminalization, she is not without her reservations.
“I support the question if it means that the state can get revenue from the sale of marijuana. I would also support the use of medical marijuana like in California, she said. “But this has to have strong enforcement like alcohol; it cannot be loosely handled. If those things don’t happen then I’m not in clear support of this.
Out of the 40 districts in Massachusetts, MassCann has attached a question in the ballots of 18. Nine districts, like Newton, have questions dealing with the all-around legalization of marijuana, while the other nine have questions dealing with the legalization of medical marijuana. MassCann expects the public to vote more in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana than of all-around legalization.
MassCann, however, has faith in Creem’s influence and leadership ability.
“We chose this district as one of 18 because Creem is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, MassCann Director Bill Downing said. “[Therefore], she can be very influential in the process¦ we want her to know where the public stands.
While MassCann and Creem support the legalization of marijuana, the passing of such a bill could change the way schools offer education about the drug. Instead of being portrayed as a contraband substance, in time it could be described as substance allowed in moderation, like alcohol. Many people hope that that will not be the case.
“This isn’t something [we should] promote, Principal Joel Stembridge said. “Decriminalizing and then legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message about maintaining drug-free lives. Further erosion in this sense would be bad.
Intervention Prevention Counselor Rich Catrambone reciprocates these feelings.
“I think people need to weigh the long term versus the short term – making a few bucks, is not the answer, he said. “[According to statistics], it is going to cause harm to at least 10 percent of the people who use it¦ so I hope that people realize just what direction this is going in.
Students, on the other hand, tend to carry a more relaxed view on the legalization of marijuana.
“I believe that it’s okay to legalize marijuana for people over the age of 21, but I also believe that more people under the age of 21 will abuse this drug, junior Aley Lewis said.
“I [also] agree with legalizing marijuana, but I also think it is the person’s choice. If they do abuse it then they’re the ones who are suffering the consequences, junior Pauline Lander said.
MassCann, however, remains optimistic about the outcome of the possible legalization of marijuana, referencing the use of hemp, a variant of the marijuana plant, for commercial use. “There will be more hemp products [such as clothing and footwear] and with that, more employment; the government will be able to grow the product by using only marginal land on local soil, Downing said. “This entire concept will become possible.

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