The Boston Globe has officially endorsed Question 4 to legalize recreational cannabis. The Globe is the most circulated newspaper in Massachusetts, and one of the top 15 most circulated papers in the entire United States.
“The opponents of Question 4, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, have inadvertently provided the best reason to vote for the measure”, starts the Globe’s endorsement letter. “Those opponents include virtually every elected official and law enforcement officer in the state, from Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey on down, and their lockstep opposition (with the lonely exception of Senate President Stanley Rosenberg) sends a clear message that Beacon Hill will not legalize marijuana on its own, no matter how little popular support prohibition may have.”
The Globe’s editorial board continues; “Opponents of the referendum stumbled out of the gate with scaremongering about the dangers of the drug”. They note that “An ad from opponents raises the specter of pot shops — but taking drug sales off the streets is a feature, not a bug, of legalization. Nor would the law lead to pot shops on every corner, since the referendum allows municipalities to restrict their number.”
As for the risk from drugged driving, the letter states, “that already is, and will continue to be, a real problem. But the risk posed by impaired drivers is a reason to enforce traffic laws, not to ban pot (or, for that matter, alcohol).”
The Globe criticizes the measure as written by “marijuana-industry advocates, noting that “The referendum would create a regulatory system that seems tailor-made to create a new class of entrenched special interests that will fight against further regulation.” However, since the Globe doesn’t believe the legislature will act on legalization anytime soon, they feel this isn’t a deal-breaker.
The Globe does take a surprising stance in stating that the one ounce limit should be removed; “The restriction on personal possession should also go, as it replicates the current half-legal, half-illegal status quo… There is no limit on how much beer the state’s residents can keep in their fridge, or transport in public. The lesson from decriminalization is that half-illegal doesn’t work; if residents vote to make marijuana legal, it should not be subject to restrictions that would be unique for any legal product in Massachusetts.”
The Globe’s full endorsement letter can be found by clicking here.