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Sunday, October 28, 2012

WCVB 5, "MA medical marijuana is not grassroots effort"

WCVB 5, "MA medical marijuana is not grassroots effort"

http://wcvb.com/news/politics/Out-of-state-cash-shaping-Massachusetts-ballot-...

Responding to WCVB & New England Center for Investigative Reporting- Peter Lewis MA Medical Marijuana Question 3 expose featuring video from our youtube.

Medical Marijuana not a grassroots movement?

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I am the treasurer and a former president of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, otherwise known as MASS CANN, a state affiliate of NORML. For 24 years MASS CANN/NORML has worked toward more moral and reasonable cannabis policies in Massachusetts, including the medicinal application of cannabis.
Your article, “Out-of-state cash shaping Massachusetts ballot measure prospects” accurately points out that the funding for Q3 comes primarily from out-of-state sources, but is not accurate when it states that, “An out-of-state billionaire and deep-pocketed interest groups have hijacked the ballot measure process in Massachusetts.” http://necir-bu.org/investigations/out-of-state-cash-shaping-massachusetts-ballot-measure-prospects/
$1m is not enough to change Massachusetts voters’ minds about any political issue. If medical marijuana was an unpopular proposal, it would take much more than $1m. to have it pass a ballot initiative. $1m is just barely enough to run a campaign. Also, the money would not have come to Massachusetts without strong evidence an initiative would pass.
It would be more accurate to write that out-of-state funding is enabling a grassroots effort for over 20 years by ordinary citizens, like those who comprise our membership.  These funders have been courted by the Committee for Compassionate Medicine, Mass. Patients’ Alliance, the Drug Policy Foundation of Mass. (DPFMA) and MASS CANN/NORML. They are not uninvited hijackers. Quite the opposite.
There is a long, rich history of citizen efforts on behalf of the provision of medicinal cannabis. I was one of two operations managers for the Massachusetts Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis (MC2) and managed a team of volunteer petitioners who, in 1990, gathered over 13,000 signatures in support of a Cambridge City Council home-rule petition supporting medicinal marijuana. MC2 kick started a chain of events that culminated in:
• The December 1991 passage of the “Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act”,
• Our Commonwealth’s very open request to the federal government for either access to, or permission to grow, marijuana, and
• Passage of the “Joe Hutchins Act: A medical necessity defense for the possession of marijuana”, which was signed by Governor Weld in August 1996.
In addition, in support of medical cannabis MASS CANN activists have:
• Lectured and published writings on many aspects of medical cannabis for many years
• Spoken repeatedly on request at Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, Harvard University, Clark University, MIT, Babson College, Wellesley High School and dozens of other venues across the state
• Done about 100 radio shows and a couple of dozen television shows
• Participated in about twenty debates and
·         Worked with DPFMA to run 11 medicinal marijuana public policy questions on local ballots in every demography in Massachusetts.
Those 11 public policy questions asked actual voters while they were actually voting whether the support medicinal use of cannabis or not. They have all passed with an average of 69.55% of voters voting in support of medical cannabis.
District
Yes
No
Y/N%*
#
YR
Current Incumbent
2009-2010
Fourth Barnstable
14,315
8,804
62%
2000
Third Berkshire
10,909
4,173
72%
2004
First Middlesex
15,677
5,423
74%
2008
Twenty-First Middlesex
14,154
5,915
71%
2008
Twenty-Fourth Middlesex
14,551
4,705
76%
2004
Sixth Norfolk
10,791
4,506
71%
2004
Seventh Norfolk
8,386
4,820
64%
2006
Thirteenth Norfolk
16,372
6,125
73%
2008
Sixth Plymouth
15,267
6,155
71%
2008
Seventh Plymouth
13,784
5,902
70%
2004
Fourteenth Worcester**
6,717
4,197
61%
2002
The money may come from out-of-state, but the effort to get Q3 on the ballot was driven by us Massachusetts 99%ers and support of the effort is very strong among voters already. As I wrote before, rather than hijacking, these funders are enabling a populist effort.
On the other hand, there are clear explanations why the opposition to Q3 is so bereft of funding. Their only supporters, as you mention in your article are, “A loose coalition of substance abuse educators and counselors…”. Unlike us volunteer activists substance “abuse” educators and counselors have a professional, financial interest in maintaining reefer madness hysteria. These people, with vested financial interests, seem to be our only citizen organized opposition.
Bill Downing, Treasurer
MASS CANN/NORML
(781) 944-CANN (2266)
POB 211, Reading, MA 01867-0311


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