Georgetown, MA – On November 2, Californians will vote on Prop 19, which if approved will legalize adult possession of an ounce of marijuana and home cultivation on 25 square feet, with local governments authorized to license cultivators and retailers and collect tax on sales of marijuana.
To no one’s surprise Associated Press writers Pete Yost in Washington, Terry Collins and Lisa Leff in San Francisco, Samantha Young in Sacramento and Robert Jablon in Monterey Park, Calif. reported on October 15, 2010 that Attorney General Holder and the Federal Government opposes Proposition 19. While on CNN yesterday, Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders said, “What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize young people. And we use so many of our excellent resources … for things that aren’t really causing any problems. It’s not a toxic substance.”
Here in Massachusetts, three days before Globe columnist Kevin Cullen wondered why “we’re not having that conversation” in Massachusetts. Well Kevin we are, at least where inquisitive reporters ask the politicians questions about it.
On the North Shore, the Salem News reporters are asking.
On October 12, the Salem News reporting on the race in the 8th Essex House District, where voters will be polled their opinion of legislation that would allow the state to regulate the taxation, cultivation, and sale of marijuana to adults reported that:
On some issues the split between the candidates does not come where some might expect. For example, a question on the Marblehead ballot this November will ask about legalizing marijuana.
“I’ll vote no on that,” says Ehrlich. “I would be in favor of seeing us adapt something like the laws in California or Washington, D.C., where marijuana is legal for medical purposes.”
Kozitza asks for time to think before e-mailing, “Certain substances pose more harm to society at large than other substances.” She will vote yes and notes that legalization will save a fortune in policing costs.
Three days later the Salem News reporting on the 13th Essex House District race between Republican challenger Danvers Selectman Dan Bennett and incumbent Democratic state Rep. Ted Speliotis reported that:
Speliotis said he would support initiatives to legalize and tax marijuana.
“I tend to support it,” Speliotis said. “Small usage of marijuana is something the public, again, has begun to accept. … I don’t buy into, ‘It’s an entry-level drug.’”
The bigger drug issue comes from those who are battling cocaine and OxyContin addiction, Speliotis said, a problem that has led to an epidemic of house breaks across the North Shore.
Bennett views legalizing marijuana from a public safety perspective.
“If you are smoking marijuana and you are driving, you are putting people at risk,” said Bennett, who does not favor further legalization.
“If you legalize it, you put the public safety at risk,” Bennett said. However, “what someone does in their home is their business, not Dan Bennett’s business.”
On October 16, the Salem News reported on the race in the 12th Essex House District between Democrat Joyce Spiliotis and Republican Martin Scafidi:
Though it’s on the ballot in other local communities, not Peabody, Spiliotis said she would support legalizing and taxing marijuana.
“I hadn’t thought about it just because it’s not on the ballot,” she said. “(But) I don’t have a problem with it, honestly. What’s the difference between that and drinking?”
Scafidi agrees with the decriminalization of the drug, but nothing beyond that.
“I don’t know that I’m for legalizing marijuana,” he said.
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