In November of this year many Massachusetts voters will get the opportunity to vote on issues linked to the legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana. Voters in 73 towns and cities, equating to around 12% of the Massachusetts population, will have the opportunity to express their opinions, courtesy of the Medical Marijuana Reform Groups listed below, which are behind this public policy question (PPQ). State citizens are able to petition to include PPQs on the ballot papers; although votes are non-binding, they are seen by the legislature as a guide to voter opinion on specific issues.
- The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts (DPFMA)
- The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann/NORML)
- Suffolk University NORML
- The UMass Amherst Cannabis Reform Coalition
- War on Lies
In fact, this year is no different from the previous 10 years – marijuana activists began using PPQs back in 2000 in an attempt to get medical marijuana at least legalized in Massachusetts – and their rate of success is admirable, with 41 PPQs being passed with an average of 64.5% of the vote. Previous PPQs have concentrated on:
- Medical marijuana
- Marijuana decriminilization
- Legalization or tax and regulate
It was these PPQs which paved the way for the marijuana decriminalisation initiative of 2008 and organizers are hopeful that they can build on their previous successes and work towards legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana.
Spokesman for MassCann/NORML, Bill Downing, said, “We have a bunch of PPQs this year. There are a set of medical marijuana ones and a set of legalization ones. We’re using the medical ones strategically to target individuals who have sway, and for the legalization ones, we used the results of the 2008 decriminalization vote to target communities with high decrim vote levels.”
Voters in nine of the districts will vote on whether state representatives should be instructed to vote for marijuana legalization, while, in another nine districts, voters will be asked to urge state representatives to vote in favor of medical marijuana legislation.