I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, 2016 is going to be the ultimate tipping point for marijuana reform in America. Right now there are four states that have legalized marijuana (and D.C. of course!). By the end of 2016, that number could easily triple or more. A state that is high on my radar is Massachusetts, along with most other states in the northeastern part of the country. Activists on the ground in Massachusetts are planning on pursuing both the legislative and initiative routes. Per The Salem News:
Emboldened by victories in other states and recent polls showing widespread support, advocates of legalized marijuana are preparing to put the question to Massachusetts voters in 2016.
Supporters of legalization say they are drafting legislation to allow recreational pot cultivation and use, with a tax similar to those for alcohol and tobacco, for consideration in the legislative session that starts in January. They’ll also prepare a ballot question for the 2016 elections in case lawmakers fail to act.
“If the Legislature doesn’t do anything, we’ll go to the voters in 2016,” said Richard Evans, a Northampton attorney and chairman of a coalition that is pushing for legalization. “We want to give lawmakers the opportunity to enact it. Voters shouldn’t be making laws like this, lawmakers should. But when the lawmakers won’t, voters must.”
I like the approach in Massachusetts, which is similar to what activists did in Oregon. But unlike Oregon’s Legislature, I hope the Massachusetts Legislature takes advantage of this opportunity. The Oregon Legislature bluffed and let activists pursue an initiative. Now the Oregon Legislature is scrambling to put in their two cents after the fact. Hopefully that’s not the case in Massachusetts.