Legalizing Marijuana: Is It Good for Massachusetts?
The idea of legalizing marijuana and other drugs has been in the news lately. What do you think about Brookline?
By Grahame Turner and Brooklyn Lowery
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. Former Town Councilor Gus Bailey faces marijuana cultivation and dealing charges after a warehouse he co-owned was raided by Waltham Police. Also, Federal agents arrested a Watertown man who they believe is the center of a major drug ring bringing pot into the area from Canada.
And last June, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank announced he was working with Texas Republican Ron Paul on a bill to end the federal ban on marijauna.
Marijuana possession, though in an admittedly different context, also hit Wayland earlier this year when a 17-year-old Wayland High School student was found with Cheeba Chews, a chocolate taffy laced with THC, the high-inducing chemical in marijuana.
Patch reported specifically on the 17-year-old being in possession of an illegal substance, 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.
Related Topics: Legalizing Marijuana