In the November election, voters in a number of Massachusetts districts sent a message that they’re ready to see dramatic changes in the commonwealth’s marijuana laws.

In nine legislative districts around the state (including the 1st Franklin and 3rd Hampshire districts), a majority of voters approved public policy questions calling for marijuana to be taxed and regulated by the government, in the same way alcohol is. In addition, voters in nine districts (including, locally, the 1st Hampden) approved public policy questions calling for medical marijuana to be available to patients on a doctor’s recommendation.

While public policy questions are non-binding, they are an important way for constituents to voice their priorities to their representatives; indeed, the wording of PPQs specifically asks voters, “Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of” whatever policy is being suggested. While legislators don’t have to follow that directive, they certainly can’t deny that voters have made their wishes clear.

Western Mass. Legislators File Marijuana Reform Bills
The Valley Advocate, Thu, Feb 3, 2011