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Eight state senators traveled to Denver this month to study the highs and lows of marijuana in Colorado, one of four states where voters have legalized the drug’s recreational use. With Massachusetts voters likely to vote on a legalization ballot question in November, the senators quizzed top officials about how legal pot impacts everything from public health to drugged driving to taxes. They aimed to gain an understanding of how to regulate the new industry, should Massachusetts give it the green light.

The Globe asked the senators, who serve on a special committee on marijuana, where they stand. (The chairman of the committee, Senator Jason M. Lewis of Winchester, said he won’t be taking a position while the committee’s work proceeds.)



Senator Viriato M. deMacedo, Republican of Plymouth

“[T]here are too many things Colorado still does not know; including safety issues around edibles, regulatory clashes with other states, and the drain on public safety and health resources[.] I am not willing to take those risks.”​

Senator John F. Keenan, Democrat of Quincy

“We haven’t been able to properly regulate medical marijuana and casinos; it would be crazy to introduce recreational marijuana, which will have even greater impacts on the health, safety and education of the public . . . ”

Senator Michael O. Moore, Democrat of Millbury

“Aside from health and public safety considerations, there are significant financial and logistical obstacles associated with implementation that require a more in-depth analysis.”

Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, Democrat of Westport

“After seeing what we saw and hearing what we heard . . . I can think of no public good that will come from it.”

Senator Richard J. Ross, Republican of Wrentham

“My goal as a member of this committee is to use what we have learned in Colorado to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth should a ballot initiative pass in November.”


Not taking a position now

Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Democrat of Dorchester

”I’m waiting for our committee to finalize the report which is due out in February. My concern is responsible implementation if the voters decide to legalize adult-use.”

Senator Jason M. Lewis, Democrat of Winchester; chairman of the Senate’s special committee on marijuana

“The purpose of the committee is to be proactive in researching and analyzing potential ramifications and policy issues if Massachusetts voters were to legalize marijuana for recreational use, assuming an initiative petition to legalize marijuana will be on the ballot in the 2016 election.”


Senator James T. Welch, Democrat of West Springfield

“While I have many concerns, especially the potential impact on our youth, I am confident that should the ballot question pass we can implement a safe and heavily regulated system.”

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos. Click here to subscribe to his weekday e-mail update on politics.