Petitioners representing MassCann and other groups have been gathering signatures to place public-policy questions on the November ballot in various parts of the state.
Voters in much of the 6th Congressional District will find a public policy question on their ballot asking their opinion about the repeal of the "federal prohibition of marijuana, as the 21st Amendment repealed national prohibition of alcohol, so that states may regulate it as they choose?"
Towns voting on the question include Gloucester, Boxford, Essex, Georgetown, Groveland, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Middleton, Newbury, North Andover, Rockport, Rowley, Wenham, West Newbury, North Reading, Wilmington Lynn, a Marblehead, Swampscott, and BIllerica.
Attorney Steven Epstein of Georgetown, the coordinator of the volunteer signature collection effort, explained: "The question is in support of HR 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act’ sponsored by Democrat Barney Frank, Republican Ron Paul and 19 other members of the 112th Congress."
"It is modeled upon a question on many Massachusetts ballots in 1928 ‘requesting Congress to take action for the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, known as the prohibition amendment," added Mr. Epstein. "It passed handily. Two years later Massachusetts voters fed up with the violence and expense of enforcing the state's "little Volstead Act" repealed it by initiative, leaving it to the 'feds' to enforce alcohol prohibition in Massachusetts. Three years later, Utah ratified the 21st Amendment ending alcohol prohibition."
Meanwhile, John Leonard of DPFMA reports that Signatures gathered jointly by DPFMA (Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts) and MassCann together have turned in sufficient signatures to place public policy question on the ballot for the 2nd Middlesex Senate District (Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, Winchester), the Middlesex and Suffolk Senate District (Chelsea, Everett, Cambridge, Allston, Charlestown), and the 2nd Berkshire State Representative District (Greenfield, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Savoy, Windsor, Bernardston, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Northfield, Rowe, and Pittsfield). .
John Leonard of DPFMA reports: "Unfortunately, we did not make the ballot in the 4th Berkshire State Rep District that comprises the very pro-reform southwestern corner of the state and includes Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lenox, and Lee. We came tantalizingly close. The petitioner was evicted from the supermarket in Lee he was working on the last day of petitioning under threat of arrest by the state police. We had 185 certified signatures plus an unprocessed petition sheet of 12 signatures that was returned to us by one small town even though they admitted receiving the mail before the July 3rd deadline. It wasn’t worth litigating with the town as it would not have made a difference in the end."
The wording is as follows: "Shall the state senator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol?"