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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bill Downing of MassCann/NORML, "Medical marijuana is most important"

By Bill Downing, MassCann/NORML

Dear fellow Activists:

The end of our long struggle for legal medical access to cannabis is within sight. With a dedicated effort we can ameliorate the suffering of tens of thousands of sick and dying brothers and sisters in our Commonwealth. Public support for doctors’ rights to allow patients access to medicinal cannabis is strong. I have said now many times that there is no other issue before our legislature that enjoys as much popular support as MMJ does. Until someone explains why I’m wrong, I’m going to keep on saying it.

We ought to see MMJ passed before we let our efforts be split by or diverted toward legalization.

Unless our current efforts pay off, medical cannabis bills will have to be reintroduced for the 2011-2012 legislative session. Though I have a gut feeling there may be money from MPP or DPA for a medical ballot initiative by 2012, I have been told by a reliable source that will not happen. I expect the next MMJ bills(s) will be assigned to the Public Health Committee, where H2160 will probably die this year. Inside word is H2160 is dying because one of the Public Health Committee chairs, Rep. Jeff Sanchez (D-15th Suffolk, JP) has been told by House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-19th Suffolk, Revere, picture above) MMJ is too much trouble. (how incredibly callous) We have no reason to expect anything different in the next session unless we do the right thing.

What is the right thing? Make it really hard for Sanchez and Deleo to ignore their constituents’ wishes re. MMJ. How? By tendering proof to them in the form of real votes cast by real voters on election day. No poll, no matter how well designed, no matter how large the sample, no matter how high the cost, could ever hope to be as accurate as a PPQ. And we don’t just prove it to Sanchez and DeLeo, we prove it to all their constituents and their local media.

We could win with MMJ PPQs anywhere in the state. So, IMHO, the only question is where do we target, or perhaps more accurately, who do we target.

The obvious first choices, it seems to me, are Sanchez and DeLeo. Theirs are representative districts and we only need a few hundred signers in each to get on the ballots. We can probably get all the signatures we need for Sanchez’s district at one event – the Wake Up The Earth Festival. I’m contacting the organizers to find out about tabling there.

Other committee leaders who let our bills die this session are:

1st Middlesex and Norfolk Senatorial, Newton, Cynthia Stone Creem-D, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary (let S1738 die)

2nd Suffolk Representative, Boston/Chelsea, Eugene O’Flaherty-D, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary (let S1738 die)

1st Essex Senatorial, Haverhill/Newburyport/Methuen, Steven Braddor, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary (let S1738 die)

3rd Berkshire Representative, Pittsfield, Christopher Speranzo-D, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary (let S1738 die)

3rd Middlesex Senatorial, Waltham/Lexington/Concord/Bedford, Susan Fargo-D, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health (let H2160 die)

2nd Bristol and Plymouth Senatorial, Montigny, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health (let H2160 die)

12th Middlesex Representative, Newton, Ruth Balser, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health (let H2160 die).

Of the above:

The 3rd Middlesex Senatorial with Susan Fargo was MMJ PPQed in 2006

The 3rd Berkshire Representative with Christopher Speranzo was MMJ PPQed in 2004.

The other most influential target would be Senate President Theresa Murray-D, Plymouth and Barnstable.

Districts, Legislators and Years of Past MMJ PPQs (in reverse chronological order)

1st Middlesex Representative, R – Robert S. Hargraves, 2008

21st Middlesex Representative, D – Charles A. Murphy, 2008

13th Norfolk Representative, D – Lida E. Harkins, 2008

6th Plymouth Representative, R – Daniel K. Webster, 2008

7th Norfolk Representative, Walter F. Timilty (D), 2006

3rd Middlesex and Norfolk Senatorial, Susan C. Fargo (D), 2006

3rd Berkshire Representative, Christopher Speranzo (D), 2004

24th Middlesex Representative, William N. Brownsberger(D), 2004

6th Norfolk Representative, William C. Galvin (D), 2004

Worcester & Norfolk Senatorial, Richard T. Moore (D), 2004

7th Plymouth Representative, Allen J. McCarthy (D), 2004

14th Worcester Representative, James J. O’Day (D), 2002

4th Barnstable Representative, Sarah K. Peake (D), 2000

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