In America’s race for cannabis legalization and progression, the West Coast is the hare and the East Coast is most definitely the tortoise. While still lagging far behind, the tortoise has begun to gain a modicum of ground within the past year, as all of New England currently has some form of medical marijuana.
Yes, most of the policies in place in these East Coast states make access nearly impossible (unless you’re practically dying), but the one state that seems determined to gain momentum and keep growing is Massachusetts. While the MPP’s prophecy to get 10 more states legalized by 2017 may be a bit farfetched, it’s not so outlandish in Massachusetts, where liberalism thrives and voters side with cannabis.
No, you can’t predict politics and a vote, but based on this year’s success, Massachusetts certainly has the look of the East Coast’s MMJ backbone. With 35 dispensaries poised to open sometime in 2014, the state will instantly host more medical marijuana facilities than the rest of the East Coast combined.
It won’t resemble LA anytime soon, but the state is at least open to the “weed invasion.” Massachusetts’ recent, progressive effort comes in the form of the Bay State Repeal, an activist group that has begun planting the seeds of legalization in Massachusetts with the hopes of fulfilling their goal during the next presidential election in 2016:
Bay State Repeal plans to put non-binding public policy questions about whether to legalize marijuana before voters in 2014, before making a push for binding language – which would be reviewed by the Legislature first – on the 2016 ballot as an initiative petition.
“A lot more people vote generally when there’s a presidential election and we do better when a lot more people vote because this is a populist issue,” said Downing, whose advocacy began by calling for the use of hemp, a fibrous plant used in textiles and paper, which is nearly identical to marijuana.
“I think that we can make a clear case on the effects of marijuana that have been proven,” Massachusetts Family Institute President Kris Mineau told the News Service. He said, “We will vehemently oppose any such effort” to legalize marijuana.
The Family Institute has been on the losing side of recent marijuana ballot questions, dating back to 2008 when voters decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of the drug.
Mineau, who described the legalization proposal as “a slippery slope of a gateway drug,” said the opposition would hope to “muster a more effective campaign.”
“Is crack cocaine going to be next on the legislation list?” Mineau asked. [Mass Live]
Yep, those kinds of people still exist too.