Mass. voters may decide on full legalization of marijuana

Governor Charlie Baker is against the measure

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A handful of ballot campaigns want to put a question on the November 2016 ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

“It has allowed an illicit market to thrive. We think a far better approach is to regulate marijuana like alcohol,” said Jim Borghesani of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol.

The group submitted its initiative petition language to the Attorney General’s office Wednesday. They want to allow people who are at least twenty-one years old to be able to legally possess the drug. Their ballot question would put a 3.75 percent state excise tax on retail marijuana, on top of the state sales tax.

The proposal would allow cities and towns to add a two percent local sales tax, as well. Supporters believe it would generate much needed revenue for the state, but they’re facing strong opposition. Governor Charlie Baker is against the measure because the state is dealing with an opioid addiction crisis.

“Virtually everybody I know in the addiction community says this is a bad idea. Most of the people I know in the health care world say it’s a bad idea,” said Baker.

Campaign director Will Luzier told 22News the ballot question will give people a safe way to obtain the drug. He said, “We’re not driving folks to the illegal market where they have to spend money with drug dealers.”

Others argue that excessive taxing will maintain a thriving black market.

Ballot campaigns must receive approval from the Attorney General’s office, and collect another round of signatures before their question can appear on the 2016 ballot.

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