On Beacon Hill: Question 4 to legalize marijuana sparks down-to-the-wire debate — an Election Day primer

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From State House News Service

ON THE AGENDA

  • Legal marijuana opponents paint bleak, dangerous future for kids
  • Doctors who roll with Question 4 seek to normalize pot, offer clinical assistance
  • Videos from both sides, including AG Healey’s impassioned ‘No’
  • Journal study links legal pot to reduced opioid use
  • Petty joins coalition of mayors in Question 4 stance — find out his vote
  • Baker eschews early voting, taking it all in until Election Day

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TOP OF THE HILL

Question 4 opponents, including Healey, warn of ‘profits over people’

BOSTON — Opponents of the ballot question to legalize retail marijuana sales in Massachusetts have conjured a possible future where a “Cannabis” sign towers above a strip mall and a marijuana store advertises its wares — pink candies and a jar of high-potency marijuana — in the window next to a toy store.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who would be responsible for appointing all three members of the Cannabis Control Commission if the question passes, said it’s too soon to say whether the regulated marijuana market would look like the version presented by Question 4 opponents in a controversial television ad.

“I couldn’t speculate on that right now. I mean, there’s a lot to come,” Goldberg, an opponent of the ballot referendum, said last week. “And candidly, that’s the reason why I felt that the timeline was too short.”


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If Question 4 passes, Goldberg, a longtime Democratic activist, would need to appoint the cannabis control commissioner and two associate commissioners by March 1, with no more than two commissioners coming from the same political party.

The ballot question would require the newly formed commission to begin accepting retail license applications from established medical marijuana dispensaries by Oct. 1, 2017. By Oct. 1, 2018, the commission would need to begin accepting marijuana retail licenses from others hoping to sell the drug and its associated products.

“There are enormous number of things to deal with, with no startup costs to even get the commission going, so the timeline is really tight,” Goldberg said.


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