With millions of voters in Massachusetts poised to vote on a referendum to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, a citizen panel has just released its findings on how legalization may impact Massachusetts. Dubbed the Citizens’ Initiative Review, the panel was comprised of 20 citizens from varying educational and professional backgrounds.
According to the panel, the strongest reason for recreational legalization in Massachusetts is that a legal marijuana market is safer than an unregulated black market. The panel also found that legalization would give patients and healthcare providers better access to marijuana without having to commit a crime, potentially reducing rates of opioid addiction and overdose.
The panel reported that the strongest reasons against legalization are the facts that the black market would not be completely eradicated and that it would be difficult to test drivers impaired by marijuana. Other reasons include conflicting information regarding legalization’s impact on teen use and motor vehicle accidents.
The increased number of jobs that would be necessary to regulate the legal marijuana industry was listed as both a cause for support and opposition to legalization.
Speaking with 22 News, Jim Borghesani, Communications Director for the “Yes on 4” Campaign, welcomed the panel’s findings.
“Marijuana is on the market. It always has been; it always will be. It’s time to regulate it, just like we regulate alcohol and cigarettes,” Borghesani said.