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Legalizing Marijuana: Is It Good for Massachusetts? [POLL]

The idea of legalizing marijuana and other drugs has been in the news lately. What do you think about Brookline?

The death of singer Whitney Houston does not yet have an official cause, but there are plenty of rumors circulating that her death is attributable to drug use.

Those rumors have triggered almost innumerable comments and debates, beginning the night of Houston’s death, regarding the effect of legalizing drugs on their abuse.

"First it was Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse, now the magnificent Whitney Houston. Let's legalize drugs, like Amsterdam, it's a very sane city now," the singer Tony Bennett told an audience at a pre-Grammy party just hours after Houston was found, Huffington Post reported.

But for every person speaking out in favor of legalizing drugs, there is someone else who wants to talk about how legalizing them would do nothing to curb abuse. CNN columnist William J. Bennett pointed out that numerous celebrity deaths in recent years have been due to legal, prescribed drugs and alcohol.

In Massachusetts this debate currently centers on the legalization of medical marijuana. Come November, Massachusetts voters could be faced with a ballot question asking them to approve "new treatment centers [that] would be authorized to acquire, cultivate, possess and process marijuana, including the development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments," according to a Boston.com article.

The article continues, "Those patients allowed to possess marijuana would be issued registration cards by the state Department of Public Health after a physician determines in writing that they have one of the qualifying medical conditions."

Drugs can be found in Watertown, and some major drug rings have been linked to the town. after a warehouse he co-owned was raided by Waltham Police. Also, Federal agents arrested a Watertown man

And last June, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank announced he was . 

Marijuana possession, though in an admittedly different context, also hit Wayland earlier this year when a , a chocolate taffy laced with THC, the high-inducing chemical in marijuana.

Patch reported , but the article drew comments from proponents of medical marijuana and legalizing marijuana in general.

John Perkins wrote in the article comments, "I say legalize MJ use and put the taxes towards regulation and education. These educational resources would be for alcohol and any drug use."

But Kevin J. Sabet pointed out in a Feb. 10, 2012, column on Huffington Post that "A major study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence by researchers at Columbia University looked at two separate datasets and found that residents of states with medical marijuana had marijuana abuse/dependence rates almost twice as high than states without such laws."

These incidents, and dozens of others, make it apparent that marijuana – legal, medicinal or otherwise – is already very much impacting Watertown and Boston area. So we want to know what you think?

Do you support the legalization of marijuana? Do you support blanket legalization or simply for medical purposes? Would you recommend age restrictions similar to those imposed on alcohol and cigarettes? Let's talk about it in the comments.

Reginald February 23, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I believe if it is legalized, it should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco; a specific age, probably 21. You will not need to purchase a license to cultivate as it is a natural plant here in North America. However, if the police feel the grow is owned by a minor they have the right to seizure. From personal experiences, I've noticed some people can handle it and some cannot, much like alcohol. I'm not too sure what it would do for the economy but I'm sure Taxachusetts will figure out something. A lot of people in Mass think it's legal anyway, a 100$ fine is less harsh than swearing in public.
Exasperated February 23, 2012 at 08:06 PM
It is time for society to evolve. Brain-dead prohibitionists still think the status quo is the answer; meanwhile their typically-defiant teenager is buying ditch weed from an unregulated and thriving underground market. The best thing for society is to regulate and control. Come out of the shadows, educate the people, provide resources and treatment options. The user who has difficulty controlling their consumption deserves compassion, not incarceration. Don't waste your time waiting for career politicians to represent what society already knows and demands - after all they "know better" than us. On a federal level your elected officials will quite likely never consider legalizing. Real change needs to be forced by other legal means such as the states changing their laws so they no longer enforce federal prohibition (e.g. repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933). Lawsuits against federal law may also help, or at least keep the conversation alive in the media. I'm sure there are better ideas out there and I hope some clever people step forward to achieve them.
Kevin Sterling February 23, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Once upon a time there was a woman named Amy Winehouse who died from drug abuse. The drug that killed her was drinking alcohol. For months we were treated to presumptions not based on fact that it was illegal drug use that was the culprit. Apparently people learned no lesson from making baseless presumptions based on nothing more than propaganda. But then again, the facts never seem to matter to those of a prohibitionist mindset. If we're to play your game and presume that Whitney Houston's death was because of drug abuse, we can rest assured that Ms. Houston would still be with us had she chosen to enjoy cannabis, rather than to abuse deadly drugs. Cannabis has simply never been the direct cause of a human death in the recorded history of mankind. While we do not have any facts to state with certainty why Ms. Houston is dead, we can state with certainty that it was not due to cannabis. Further, it's highly likely that once again that drinking alcohol was either the drug that directly killed her, or at the least played a significant role in sending her into that dark night. It seems misguided at best to me to be asking if we should be keeping the one thing that didn't kill her illegal because she is dead. Why in the world isn't the question whether we should be returning to the days of the 18th Amendment if criminalizing a deadly, highly addictive drug is such a good idea? Why is cannabis such a scapegoat to so many people?
Shawn Christopher February 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM
The real question here is do we continue to fill the pockets of criminal organized crime and unnecessarily punish otherwise law abiding citizens ruining their lives with criminal records and the horrors of surviving prison time and exposing our kids to the same horrors?or do we tax and regulate it so it's HARDER for, kids to get it now and use the tax dollars to help society? especially with something that is proven medically pretty harmless and certainly less harmful than alcohol or tobacco
pfroehlich2004 February 24, 2012 at 03:40 AM
It's absurd that we're even having this debate. California has had a quasi-legal marijuana trade for over fifteen years now without any of the prohibitionist-predicted doomsday scenarios coming to pass. It won't be any different in Massachusetts. Quit wasting public resources on this idiotic crusade and let the police focus on real crimes.

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