The latest from your weekly Mass cannabis newsletter
We returned to the State House for another hearing held by the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, and while in some regards it was a subsequent demonstration of how little some officials in Mass care about the facts surrounding cannabis, there were also some critical moments.
I streamed video for those who want to suffer through it, and we will certainly be following up with ongoing coverage (in addition to all the articles from multiple sources we linked to in Talking Joints Memo this week, some of which are quite informative), but for now I’ll focus on a few big takeaways:
- Considering last Monday’s testimony from the state Elections Division, prohibitionists may want to wait before pushing ballot measures in cities and towns to prevent legal dispensaries. According to the office’s testimony on an Act Relative to Local Voter Approval of Marijuana Regulations, any such actions taken at this point could be potentially overturned due to the way the law is now written.
- The commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources also brought some interesting information, in his case regarding pesticides and other issues that potential mass growers (and small ones too for that matter) may want to check into. On this I will defer to ace reporter Shira Schoenberg at MassLive:
“To accomplish proper pesticide regulation enforcement, it would be very difficult to do with existing resources,” Lebeaux told the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy at a public hearing.
Lebeaux said he does not yet know exactly how much money he will need. But he suggested that recreational marijuana could be a $200 million agricultural industry—potentially representing almost half of Massachusetts’ agricultural economy.
- As the packed room was reminded of by the parents of Maddie Cole, who has intractable seizures due to epilepsy that is most effectively relieved by particular CBD strains, it is important to remember the patients in all of this. A bill supported by the Coles and the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance would, among other positives, make it easier for families in desperate need to get their children medicine. Under the current system, it took the Coles “two years of searching [to] finally find one physician in the whole state who had the appropriate certification.” That’s unacceptable.
- Lastly, at least for for now, and it’s a waste of time to give this guy too much attention, but Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe is an absurd individual. To say his views are prehistoric is an insult to dinosaurs; he’s still fabricating gateway drug propaganda, claiming that the facts are on his side while openly conceding that he didn’t bring any specific data along with him. O’Keefe’s immediately following the Coles only added insult to injury.
To paraphrase the great anti-prohibitionist politician Barney Frank, It is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated … Trying to have a conversation with O’Keefe would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.
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A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.