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Baker, Healey, Walsh overstate case

I AM extremely disappointed in our elected officials, Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, for their opposition to marijuana legalization (“Do not legalize marijuana in Massachusetts,” Opinion, March 7). They are politicians, and for whatever private reasons they have (e.g., drug abuse in their families), they have decided that there is a political benefit to opposing marijuana legalization. Hopefully, the people of Massachusetts will ignore their wishes and vote for legalization.

In their main argument, Baker, Healey, and Walsh misrepresent the research findings of a small number of poorly done studies in order to scare the public about marijuana legalization’s effects on adolescents. They try to minimize the economic benefits of legalization by comparing marijuana tax revenues to the overall state budget, rather than acknowledge the tens of millions of dollars legalization generates, enough to expand drug treatment throughout the Commonwealth and help fund education.


I guess Baker and Healy don’t mind that all those millions go to drug lords in Mexico instead of to our schools. And as far as effect on young people is concerned, a 2014 survey reported on by US News and World Report found marijuana use among Colorado adolescents went down in the first year after legalization and was lower than the national average.

Adolescents shouldn’t be using drugs — that is obvious. But any kid who wants marijuana can easily get it now. And Baker and Healey ignore the racist aspects of our current drug laws. The American Civil Liberties Union reported that people of color in Massachusetts are four times as likely to experience legal consequences of marijuana use compared to whites, even though there are comparable usage rates. Baker, Healy, and Walsh are on the wrong side of history on this issue.


Michael Milburn
The writer is a professor of psychology at UMass Boston.