EDITOR'S NOTE: The medical marijuana ballot initiative (Question 3) passed statewide in this November’s Presidential Election, with 63 percent of Massachusetts voters supporting it.
Only two communities statewide - Mendon and Lawrence - voted against Question 3. Stoughton voters favored it 60% to 40%.
“This proposed law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients,” according to the Secretary of State’s website. “It allows patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.”
“The proposed law would allow for [up to 35] non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers,” according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Proponents argue medical marijuana will “ease the suffering of thousands of people with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and other debilitating conditions,” while opponents argue that “the loopholes for corruption and exploitation are enormous” based on how the initiative was written.
Read the OASIS reaction to Question 3 passing below. For more information about Question 3, click here.
So, Medical Marijuana is coming to Massachusetts. OASIS (Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton) wants you to know that this does not change any of the following facts:
- Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in Massachusetts and the nation.
- Youth in states that have “medical” marijuana programs, believe that marijuana is much less harmful than youth in other parts of the country.
- In states with Medical Marijuana laws, marijuana is being diverted to teens for recreational use.
- One in six kids who try marijuana will become addicted. In the past 15 years, the potency of Marijuana (THC content) has more than tripled from 3% to more than 11%, making today’s drug highly addictive and very different from the marijuana from the 1970s and 1980s.
- Developing teens brains are negatively affected by marijuana use. A recent study demonstrated that teens that smoke marijuana have up to an 8-point IQ drop in early adulthood, compared to teens that do not smoke.
It is likely that this law will lead to increased youth use of marijuana in Stoughton and across Massachusetts. States with Medical Marijuana have marijuana abuse rates that are almost double the rate of states without such laws.
In Stoughton, when marijuana was decriminalized by popular vote in 2008, the amount of Stoughton youth using marijuana jumped from 19% (2008) to 28%(2011). The closer we get to legalizing marijuana, the less kids think it is harmful and the more they use it.
As this new law goes into effect we need to be vigilant and guard against potential abuses and medical marijuana getting into the hands of our children. Will a pot shop open in Stoughton? Will it be close to our parks, our schools, or the Square? Who can go in the pot shops? Will marijuana candy-look a-likes (Cheeba Chews, BuddaFingers, etc.) and marijuana-based products be marketed to teens?
Just because this law passed, it does not change the facts. However, youth who receive clear messages from their parents about the dangers of drug use are less likely to use drugs.
Kids who are connected in some way to the community / school are less at risk. Your best defense against this law negatively impacting your kids is YOU. So, talk to your kids. If you need help visit our website for helpful resources and information: www.stoughtonoasis.org
Knowledge is power! Know the facts! Keep talking!