Massachusetts voters will consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use on Nov. 8. Here’s what you need to know:
Would this measure really make marijuana legal?
Yes. Question 4 would legalize marijuana for adult (21+) recreational use on Dec. 15 and set a January 2018 time frame for stores to start selling legal pot. Residents could grow up to 12 marijuana plants per household. Public consumption of marijuana would remain illegal. So would driving while high.
What are the arguments for and against?
Proponents argue it would divert money from criminal syndicates to companies operating on the up-and-up that check IDs and are supervised by government inspectors. And they say that legalization would end more than a century of failed prohibition that has ensnared otherwise law-abiding citizens in the criminal justice system. Opponents insist legal marijuana will harm kids, families, and communities. And they worry the legal market — in particular, pot-infused soda, candy, and cookies — would boost the accessibility of marijuana for youth and increase the perception among kids that marijuana is safe.
Will my community have a say about pot shops?
You bet. Your elected representatives can call a referendum, and voters can decide whether to ban recreational marijuana businesses. But unlike in Colorado, where communities had to opt in to welcome marijuana businesses, the Massachusetts ballot question would require local voters to opt out of having any marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, and product manufacturers in their city or town.
Will this measure pass on Election Day?
Several polls have found Question 4 to be leading, but political insiders expect the vote to be tight, perhaps very tight.