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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Asking MA State Rep. Brownsberger about ending marijuana prohibition

MA State Rep William Brownsberger is running for the recently open MA Senate seat covering Second Suffolk and Middlesex, Consisting of Boston, ward 4, precincts 7 and 10, ward 5, precincts 2, 9 and 10, ward 21, precincts 1 to 3, inclusive, and 5, and 8 to 16, inclusive, ward 22, precincts 3 and 4, and 6 to 13, inclusive, in the county of Suffolk; Cambridge, ward 9, precincts 2 and 3, ward 10, precincts 1 and 3, and ward 11, and Belmont and Watertown, in the county of Middlesex.
We hope to hear more from this candidate in person in the upcoming weeks. 
Candidate Brownsberger:

What is your position on ending the state prohibition on cultivation and commerce in cannabis?

I look forward to your reply.

Steven S. Epstein, Esq.
In a message dated 11/15/2011 8:41:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, responds:

At this point in my career, I'm OK with ending it nationally. I'm not sure how it would really work to do it at the state level only.... But I'm not opposed to it.


Will Brownsberger
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Steve Epstein emails back,

Candidate Brownsberger:

Thank you for getting back to me so promptly.

As you may know Barney Frank and Ron Paul were the first sponsors of HR 2306 "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011" in Congress he is joined to date by Michael Capuano and to date 18 other members of the house of Representatives. In short it is the equivalent of the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution.

How it might work at the state (Massachusetts) level is how it worked in Massachusetts following the peoples repealing the state's "Baby Volstead” Act" in 1930. The only difference is that the state's Baby Volstead Act had suspended the existing regulatory scheme. Ending the state prohibition on cultivation and commerce in cannabis would need to be accompanied by positive enactments establishing an age restriction but otherwise treating it as any other agricultural commodity.

A more ambitious scheme as you may know is "An Act to regulate and tax the cannabis industry" HOUSE BILL NO. 01371, currently awaiting a hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. I do however suspect that the

If the US Attorney and DEA want to expend their limited resources tracking down marijuana in the Bay State and prosecute shame on them. Our repeal of our Baby Volstead, joing Maryland that never enacted a state prohibition and New York that repealed its law early in the experiment was one step toward the ending of that failed experiment.

In the meantime the state's resources currently expended trying to enforce the prohibition will be conserved for return to the people or expended on other priorities.

Steven S. Epstein, Esq.

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