By Will Luzier and Jim Borghesani, CRMLA Campaign Managers
Russ Belville, widely respected commentator on marijuana policy, recently said this about the initiative filed by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts: “With its low taxes, expansive protection of consumer rights, aim of improving communities hardest hit by prohibition enforcement, protection of commercial licensing, including the possibility of pot lounges, the Massachusetts version of CRMLA is the best of the three initiatives” filed in Arizona, Nevada, and Mass.
2016 will be a watershed year for marijuana law reform and Massachusetts should be leading the charge, not trailing the pack. If we fail to authorize adult use of marijuana this year, it could be another six years before we can try again. According to the Secretary of State’s Office “substantially the same petition cannot have appeared on the ballot at either of the two immediately preceding biennial state elections.”
By then many other states will have legalized marijuana either by initiative petition or by legislation. California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine as well as Massachusetts, and possibly others, will have questions on the ballot in 2016. Vermont and possibly Rhode Island may legalize by legislation in the near future. Canada is poised to implement national legalization.  By 2022 many other states will have followed suit, leaving us in the dust if the initiative fails this year.
We all know that prohibition has been an abject failure. Nationally 58% favor legalization. It makes no sense that people continue to be sanctioned for choosing to use a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. Ending marijuana prohibition will allow taxpaying businesses to create jobs, drive down youth access, and wrench the commerce from gangs and cartels.
Once the police can focus on things more serious than arresting folks for using marijuana we may even see a reduction in the serious crime rate. At least they won’t be arresting young African-Americans at four times the rate of whites.
All of this is up to you! You can continue to be in the vanguard by ending prohibition in Massachusetts in 2016 or see us relegated to the tail end of marijuana law reform.

 Read full Initiative text here!