NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – If it passes, Question 4 would make marijuana legal for recreational use in Massachusetts.
Before it’s put to a vote, local residents had the opportunity to hear about the drug and the law at Wednesday night’s community education meeting at the Northampton Senior Center. The meeting discussed how marijuana affects the developing brain, and substance abuse prevention efforts.
Karen Walsh Pio of South Hadley’s Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition told 22News pot use among kids is on the rise, and the drug has become more dangerous over the years. “Today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of the Woodstock generation. Today’s marijuana has plants with a THC potency of anywhere from 16% to 30%,” said Pio. “There are also infused products available in other states where the potency can go as high as 90% to 100%.”
Many who attended the community forum wanted to get more information before they cast their vote. “You hear very cursory comments about the pros and cons and it depends upon how it’s being spun by the proponents or opponents so I just wanted to get more details on the topic,” said Ann Franczyk of Northampton.
Question 4 seeks to legalize and create a commission to regulate marijuana in Massachusetts. Currently marijuana is only permitted for medicinal purposes. Panelist Jo McGuire told 22News she wants voters in Massachusetts to hear about Colorado’s experience with legalizing marijuana; “Kids are getting their hands on it and voters are not happy with the lack of what they understood to be regulation.”
The panelists also addressed possible health implications that could result if marijuana is legalized. “We want people to get the science and public health reasons why we should vote no on question 4,” said Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.
There were many people in attendance who told 22News they plan to vote yes on question 4.
Those in favor of legalizing marijuana point out that it would only be sold to adults over 21, and tax revenues would help the state. A recent poll shows that 55% support legalizing and taxing marijuana, while 40% oppose.