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

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.

Editorial: ‘No’ on Question 1 — a risky bet on slots

Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot asks voters to approve a second slots parlor in the state.

So narrowly construed is the bill — “adjacent to and within 1,500 feet of a race track”, “where a horse racing meeting may physically be held”, “where a horse racing meeting shall have been hosted” — that the only place where it could be sited is near Suffolk Downs in Revere.

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The bill stands to benefit, or not, only Eugene McClain, the man behind it.


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Editorial: ‘Yes’ on Question 3

Massachusetts Ballot Question 3 “would prohibit any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs or turning around freely.”

In addition — and of more impact to state residents — the law would ban the selling of eggs or meat from hens, pigs or calves if the seller “knows or should know” that the animal was confined in a manner prohibited by the law.

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It is difficult, if not impossible, to dispute this issue on moral or ethical grounds. Animals, even those raised for their eggs or our consumption, should be treated humanely.


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Editorial: ‘No’ on Question 4 — recreational marijuana can wait

Call us uncool, but we actually like being in our right minds.

Of course a lot of people feel the same way, and would never — or never again, now that they’re older and wiser — smoke or ingest something classified as a psychedelic drug. Others would give anything to be able to climb out of the pit of an addiction that started out as innocent fun, and return to a steady life. Their loved ones would love to see it too.

And, you know, that’s reason enough to vote “no” on Question 4.

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Despite the maze of arguments and evidence attending the ballot measure to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts, it’s OK to leapfrog over it all and vote your conscience or your knee-jerk reaction to a question that asks whether it’s a good idea to legalize a mind-altering substance.

Editorial: ‘No’ on Question 2

Question 2 facing Massachusetts voters has, predictably, brought out conflicting arguments and a blitz of expensive ads.

The key to trying to find the better answer — whether to allow for expanded charter school numbers and enrollment — is to side with the ones making none of the noise but who matter the most: the children in our public schools.

Notice we said the “better” answer, not the “correct” one. There are good reasons to vote either way on Question 2.

The bottom line, for us, though, is “No.”

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No, and also: Education should not be this difficult, nor this divisive.

We all want the best possible schooling for our children. We also want Massachusetts to remain a beacon for the rest of the nation on public education. Our state cherishes the ideal of opening wide the doors of learning to its children.

Let’s deliver on that ideal by shoring up the district schools the vast majority of public schoolchildren attend. Only about 4 percent of elementary and secondary pupils attend one of the state’s 78 public charter schools.

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Inbox [Aug. 10]: Union endorses Worcester state rep candidate Dixon, GWCF announces $350k in grants, rain barrel discount ends Saturday, area youth garner Simon scholarships

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Union endorses Dixon in 17th Worcester District

Members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in Massachusetts, announce their endorsement of Moses Dixon, Democratic candidate for state representative in the 17th Worcester District.

Aug 10-UnionDixon finished third in the Democratic primary for the same seat in 2014. State Rep. Kate D. Campanale, R-Leicester, who defeated Doug Belanger two years ago, is the incumbent seeking re-election. Belanger is also running again.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher for working families in this election, and we need to elect champions who share our commitment to quality jobs, quality care and true economic and racial justice for all,” said Tyrék D. Lee Sr., executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “Moses Dixon is a dedicated leader who will stand with us on our issues and will fight with us to build a better future for our families. We are proud to endorse him for election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.”

Endorsement: Joe Petty for mayor, for now

The question Ronald Reagan posed to voters before the 1980 election is the standard by which all elections are measured.

“Ask yourself, are you better off now than you were four years ago?” he implored. As it relates to the Tuesday, Nov. 3, municipal election, we ask, “Are the city of Worcester and its residents better off than they were two years ago?”

Worcester voters have three choices for mayor: two-term incumbent Mayor Joseph M. Petty, City Councilor-at-Large Michael T. Gaffney and William S. Coleman III.

In the course of the last six months, we have spoken with thousands of residents. We’ve listened to the candidates at every public forum and debate. We’ve read what they’ve written and listened to what they said.

Endorsements: To allow for new City Council voices, someone must go

The debate is over, the forums are over, the rallies and the standouts winding down. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, it will be up to the voters of Worcester to elect a new City Council.

The final month of the campaign has seen a whirlwind of activity: the announcement of 500 jobs moving downtown as part of a planned $70 million investment on Front and Commercial streets, plans for a $30 million upscale hotel at City Square, the opening of the Recovery High School, to name just a few.

As we note in our endorsement for mayor, though, there exists a level of anxiety over the direction of the city. The next City Council needs to have the backing of the community as it attempts to reconcile the competing views of the city. It needs to be sensible, smart and energetic. Most of all, though, it will require a collective moderate temperament not seen since the election season began in April.

Endorsements: Six for School Committee

The results of Tuesday’s Worcester School Committee election figure to determine the path of the Worcester Public Schools for more than the next two years.

In addition to hiring a permanent replacement for outgoing Superintendent Melinda J. Boone, the next School Committee will be dealing with an underperforming district with schools in much need of repair or replacement, high-stakes testing concerns and a not-always-collegial working relationship with the City Council.

The field of 10 candidates features all six incumbents, a former committee member and three first-time candidates, one fresh out of high school.