When one considers the issue of marijuana reform being put into the hands of state lawmakers, some of which apparently do not understand the first thing about weed, it makes complete sense why after nearly two decades of legalization here in the Land of the Free, not a single state has managed to bring down prohibition through the legislative process.
It seems the eight Massachusetts Senators, brought together last year to form the state’s “Special Committee on Marijuana,” have absolutely no concept of what cannabis is, what it does, or how it is consumed. A report from The Boston Globe suggests that during a fact-finding mission to Colorado this week in an effort to research the world of recreational marijuana, at least a couple of the senators made complete fools out of themselves by showing their ignorance over the most basic aspects of the cannabis culture.
For starters, Senator John F. Keenan, who argues legalization should be averted in the interest of public safety, is quite obviously confused as to how marijuana is consumed. While being shown a variety of strains at a local dispensary, Kennan reportedly asked the budtender, “If I were to buy this, what would I do with it? Do I crush it? Roll it?”
Later, Keenan asked a dispensary employee whether they sold “the balm,” which we still haven’t figured out whether he was inquiring about cannabis topicals, or if his comment was simply his feeble attempt at squeezing out some street vernacular that he picked up in a movie. It is distinctly possible the senator has been engrossed in fear and intrigued ever since hearing someone say, “Man, this weed is the bomb!”
Other lawmakers, like Senator Michael O. Moore, were noticeably perplexed by the idea that recreational marijuana products could still be used for medical purposes.
Confessing that the visit to Colorado would help the Massachusetts Legislature “reduce the number of unknowns,” when considering a proposal to legalize a recreational cannabis trade in 2016, Senator Jason Lewis, who organized the trip, said that “while the implementation of legalized marijuana in Colorado has gone reasonably well, there are many, many different issues that come up and need to be addressed.”
Although Moore did not fully elaborate on the committee’s concerns, the potential dangers of children getting their hands on edible pot products and impaired driving were among some of the leading issues being discussed during the visit. However, leading Colorado health officials told the senators that despite a handful of cases of impaired driving and THC overdoses, legalization has not contributed to any widespread health issues.
Perhaps the senators are now better educated into what Massachusetts can expect from eliminating the criminal penalties surrounding the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana and allowing it to be sold in retail shops in a manner similar to beer. This information will be helpful when the group advises the rest of the Massachusetts Legislature during the current session on a ballot measure brought to the table by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The initiative was recently approved by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, putting the measure up for consideration by the state legislature. Lawmakers have the option of taking action on the proposal or they can let it go before the voters in November.
Senator Richard Ross recently told The Milford Daily News that the committee anticipates the initiative “has a reasonable chance at passing.” However, if voters do not approve the measure in the upcoming election, there is a possibility the legislature may impose a moratorium to prevent further measures from being concocted, so that they can establish a safer regulatory model.
The Senators’ visit to Colorado concludes later this week.