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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tomorrow, activists gather to push medical marijuana and legalization at MA State House

On Tuesday, March 2, members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hear testimony in favor of Senate Bill 1801, which seeks to legally regulate the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults. The hearing is scheduled for 1:00pm in room A-1 of the Massachusetts State House.

Keith Stroup of NORML has submitted written testimony in support of this bill to the Committee in which he writes,

"it is important that any system of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana also include the right of responsible consumers to cultivate their own marijuana."

Representatives from MassCann/NORML will be speaking at the hearing. They also will be handing out legalization stickers for supporters to wear and show their support inside the hearing.

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and host of the Freedom Rally, will also be presenting over 1,000 postcards from voters in Jamaica Plain asking their Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D) to support a bill tied-up in a committee he chairs that would allow doctors to permit the use of medical marijuana by patients who need it.

Sanchez is the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health, which held hearings on the medical marijuana bill, H2160, in May of 2009. Dozens of citizens, including Sanchez constituents, testified in favor of the bill at that hearing. Since that hearing, committee chairs, including Sanchez, have failed to allow their committee to vote on the bill. If the bill is not voted on by March, it will, in all likelihood, die.

We have recently heard news from a Sanchez aide that the bill will get a vote in the next few weeks.

John Gibson, MASS CANN Director, “The support for medical marijuana in Jamaica Plain is stunning. Almost every voter who understood we were looking for supporters of medical marijuana responded in the affirmative. Our volunteers stood for hours in pelting sleet and were kept warm by the overwhelming support of Jamaica Plain voters. We had half a dozen doctors who filled-in postcards too.”

MASS CANN President, Dr. Keith Saunders noted, "Jeffrey Sanchez stands still and stays silent while people in his own district suffer. It makes no sense that he would not permit a committee vote, unless he knows the bill will pass and he opposes it. It is an unseemly lack of compassion. With more than 80% public approval for medicinal marijuana, Massachusetts democrats like Sanchez show they still haven't learned they have to give the people what they want, or the people will vote for who does."

MassCann/NORML is asking all activists to meet at the State House on Tuesday for medical marijuana at noon and the legalization hearing at 1pm to finish the day.

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