Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts


Eight Districts Approve Marijuana Legalization in 2014 Election

Massachusetts voters ask legislators to repeal prohibition
November 5th, 2014

For the eighth consecutive election cycle, voters in select State Representative districts delivered overwhelming victories on marijuana reform Public Policy Questions.

After approving a historic statewide medical marijuana referendum in 2012 by an 63% margin, Massachusetts voters returned to the polls yesterday and passed non-binding marijuana legalization Public Policy Questions in eight districts. Since 2000, voters have approved a total of 83 marijuana PPQ's around the state on reforms including decriminalizing possession, allowing medical use, and repealing prohibition on sales and taxation. For 2014 voters in 56 towns took part in deciding 8 marijuana tax and regulate like alcohol PPQ's. The average approval rating for taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol was 72%.

“Massachusetts voters have made their voices heard loud and clear; we are ready for marijuana legalization.” says DPFMA board member Alex Arsenault. “As the fear and taboo of marijuana recedes voters are less afraid to voice their honest opinion. We can now look to Washington and Colorado who have legalized and see that the sky has not fallen.”

A recent study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron for the CATO institute on the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado has found that “Colorado has collected non-trivial tax revenue from legal marijuana” and “changes in Colorado’s marijuana policy have had minimal impacts on substance use, crime, traffic accidents, public health, and teen educational achievement.”
(Marijuana Policy in Colorado - Cato Working Paper)

“It is time to move on to taxing and regulating marijuana. Let’s focus limited police resources where they are needed, to deal with victim crimes,” said DPFMA board member John Leonard.

With Alaska (52% approval), Oregon (54%), and Washington, D.C. (69%) enacting marijuana legalization in 2014, the tide has clearly turned on marijuana prohibition. Resounding support for marijuana legalization PPQ's across the commonwealth shows that Massachusetts is also ready for this positive shift in policy.

Election Results

For the 2014 election, a coalition of DPFMA places Public Policy Questions on the ballots of 8 state rep districts. The questions read:

“Shall the State Senator/Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol?”

Results By District
4th Barnstable Approved 73%
4th Berkshire Approved 74%
1st Essex Approved 72%
2nd Franklin Approved 69%
14th Middlesex Approved 72%
15th Middlesex Approved 72%
24th Middlesex Approved 74%
8th Norfolk Approved 73%

John Leonardtoomuchfun33@hotmail.com781-749-2852
Alex Arsenaultarsenault.petitions@gmail.com413-658-7257
For TV/radio interviews in Spanish:
Jeff Herman Gutierrez

Mass Voters to Have Say on Marijuana Legalization

October 17th, 2014

Voters in eight selected districts across Massachusetts will have a chance in November’s election to tell their state representatives directly what they think about legalizing marijuana.

The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, a nonprofit organization, announced today that they have succeeded in collecting sufficient signatures to put Public Policy Questions (PPQs) on the ballot in eight selected districts in the upcoming election. The question asks if the state representative from that district should be instructed to support a measure regulating marijuana similar to alcohol.

Marijuana has been illegal under state law since 1911, and under federal law since 1937. In 2008, Massachusetts voters removed criminal penalties for small amounts, and in 2012 protected users of medical marijuana, in the treatment of certain conditions, from punishment. Both measures passed by wide margins.

“Legalizing marijuana will not only protect the public better than prohibition, it will raise new revenues and create jobs, as in Colorado and Washington,” said Alex Arsenault, a spokesman for the DPFMA. “And, it will enable states to realize huge savings in law enforcement costs,” he added.

Marijuana has been legally available to adults in Colorado since January 1, 2014. The New York Times reports that Governor Hickenlooper’s budget proposal predicts raising 134 million dollars in new revenue in the fiscal year that started in July from marijuana-related sales and excise tax. That is all without any concomitant increase in costs.

A 2010 study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated that the U.S. could save over $13.7 billion by implementing a system of regulated sales and taxation for marijuana.*

“Marijuana enforcement is as futile today as alcohol enforcement was during Prohibition,” observed Jack Cole, co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which represents the views of over 80,000 police, judges, prosecutors, prison officials and private citizens. “Marijuana prohibition laws serve chiefly as an instrument of minority oppression,” he added. “It’s past time they were repealed.“

“History is repeating itself,” observed Northampton attorney Richard Evans, a longtime marijuana reform advocate. “PPQs played an important part in repealing Massachusetts alcohol prohibition nearly eight decades ago,” he said.

“In 1928, private citizens put anti-Prohibition PPQs on the ballot in nearly all senate districts in the states, and every one of them passed by a large margin, just as decriminalization in 2008 and medical in 2012,” he added. “That sent a strong signal to the legislature that what citizens actually thought about prohibition was quite different from what they were willing to say publicly,” he said.

Since 2000, voters have approved 69 marijuana Public Policy Questions in various state representative and senate districts around the state and all passed by substantial margins. In fact, marijuana reform has never lost a vote. In the 2010 and 2012 elections, tax and regulating marijuana like alcohol ballot questions appearing in 7 districts garnered an average of 69% support. This is the wording of legalization question that has proved the most popular. The upcoming legalization PPQs will appear on the ballots of fifty six cities and towns spanning seven counties all across the state; polling citizens from a large and diverse range of communities. “PPQs are an excellent measure of voter sentiment,” DPFMA Director John Leonard said. “They represent actual votes by actual voters, not some pollster’s ideas of how citizens are likely to vote.”

The actual wording of the DPFMA PPQs is: “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol?“

“This wording closely follows the messaging of the successful 2012 legalization campaigns in Colorado and Washington,” -Arsenault said.
The districts where the PPQs will appear are:

4th Barnstable Question 6 in Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Chatham, Harwich, and Precinct 3 of Brewster, Question 9 in Orleans
4th Berkshire Question 5 in Lenox, Lee, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Alford, Becket, Egremont, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Richmond, Sandisfield, Sheffield, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Blandford, Russell, and Tolland, Question 6 in Otis
1st Essex Question 5 in Newburyport, Salisbury, & Amesbury
2nd Franklin Question 5 in Athol, Petersham, Phillipston, and precinct A of Belchertown
Question 6 in Erving, Gill, New Salem, Orange, Warwick, and Wendell
Question 7 in Royalston and Templeton
14th MiddlesexQuestion 5 in Concord, Carlisle, Precincts 1, 2, & 6 of Acton, Precincts 1 & 9 of Chelmsford
15th Middlesex Question 5 in Lexington
Question 6 in Wards 1 & 7 of Woburn
24th MiddlesexQuestion 5 in Belmont, Ward 11: Precincts 1 & 3 of Cambridge
Question 6 in Precincts 2, 4, 8, 10, & 12 of Arlington,
8th NorfolkQuestion 6 in Sharon, Precinct 4 of Mansfield, Precincts 2, 3, 4, & 6 of Stoughton, Question 7 in Precincts 3 & 4 of Walpole

Legalizing Marijuana on Sharon's Ballot

Wicked Local Sharon
Published 10/31/2014
Author: Paula Voger

Along with choosing a new governor and attorney general, on Nov. 4 Sharon voters will have the chance to once again make their opinions known about legalizing marijuana. A non-binding questions will ask voters if they would like their state representative to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.
Click Here to read the entire article on wickedlocal.com.

Cambridge Voters to Have Say on Marijuana Legalization

Wicked Local Cambridge
Published 10/23/2014
Author: Sarah Feijo

Next month, Massachusetts voters in eight districts, including Precincts 1 and 3 of Cambridge, will get to tell their state representatives what they think about legalizing marijuana.
The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts (DPFMA), a nonprofit organization supporting new approaches to drug control policy, collected enough signatures to put a public policy question on the November ballot asking voters if their state representatives should be instructed to support a measure to regulate marijuana, similar to how alcohol is regulated.
Cambridge is one of the districts that will get a say. State Rep. David Rogers (D-Cambridge), who represents the 24th Middlesex District, said he plans to vote in favor of the ballot question.
Click Here to read the entire article on wickedlocal.com.

Cape Voters Get to Weigh in on Marijuana Question

Cape Cod Times
Published 10/28/2014
Author: Christine Legere

Although it won't have the legislative impact that the binding marijuana-related ballot questions had in 2008 and 2012, voters in the nine towns that make up the 4th Barnstable District will weigh in Nov. 4 on whether marijuana should be legalized in Massachusetts.
The nonbinding question, written by a nonprofit organization called the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, will appear on the ballots of 56 communities spanning seven counties. It asks whether voters want their state representative to support a legislative measure regulating and taxing marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.
Click Here to read the entire article on the Cape Cod Times website.

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