Marijuana supporters see impact of legalization on jobs and gangs

Supporters say it will take business away from "gangs and cartels"

BOSTON (WWLP) – An effort to legalize recreational marijuana is gaining traction in Massachusetts. Proponents of the full legalization of marijuana believe the initiative will create thousands of jobs, and take business away from the “black market.”

A couple of different groups are fighting to place a question on the 2016 ballot to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Supporters say it would create thousands of jobs in a newly regulated market, and take business away from “gangs and cartels.”

They face opposition from top state elected officials, including Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he may even be willing to lead the effort against the legalization of marijuana.

State Representative Frank Smizik (D-Brookline) told 22News that he wants to hear the debate, but he’s concerned about marijuana getting into the hands of children.

“We don’t want children to have marijuana. They have them in the schools now. Will this help that? I’m not sure,” Smizik said.

Ballot question committees have until August 5 to submit language to the Attorney General’s office. She will ultimately decide whether or not to certify the questions.

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