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Sunday, August 30, 2015

MassCann/NORML endorses Bay State Repeal legalization initiative drive

MassCann/NORML endorses Bay State Repeal legalization initiative drive
By Mike Cann

Make no mistake in the battle of the dueling Massachusetts legalization ballot initiatives in Massachusetts, Bay State Repeal (BSR) matched up against the well funded, Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) is still the underdog, but at the most recent MassCann/NORML Members Meeting with more than token social capital on the line it was Bay State Repeal that was victorious.

At stake for the two campaigns was the institutional endorsement and weight of MassCann, the longest running marijuana reform org in the state.

Representing for BSR, an animated Steven Epstein in a point by powerpoint smoked out that BSR treats cannabis as a right for adults while CRMLA treats it as a privilege only allowed under certain conditions.

In response, CRMLA’s Will Luzier referred to the Cole Memorandum, stating that their Initiative was superior because of their stricter regulations and state cannabis commission model which  should keep federal prosecutors away, being expressly written with that intent. He also smartly stated that the Mass law would be better in many ways than CO with less taxes and the option for cities and towns to allow cannabis clubs which would allow adults to congregate with cannabis in private spaces.

In the end it wasn’t even close, MassCann/NORML members in a landslide endorsed BSR’s campaign as well as several follow up motions with MasCann members pledging their institutional support to BSR’s signature drive at the upcoming Boston Freedom Rally, and that MassCann would provide social media assistance as well as an expected donation to their campaign of $25,000 should Bay State Repeal need it in September.

The following day “Thanks to all in attendance, whether you voted yes on the 9 motions, abstained or voted no.” Steve Epstein of BSR emailed announcing the endorsement. And followed plugging their facebook group and twitter, “ If you are on facebook join our group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BayStateRepeal, if you twitter follow us at @baystaterepeal

Speaking to Luzier after the meeting, “We were happy to be invited to speak. I wasn’t surprised by the results but disappointed. BSR’s Steve Epstein is a founder of MassCann, so it’s not that surprising that they would find BSR’s philosophy more appealing.”

“Yes we would still like to get their endorsement, we are about the same thing ending prohibition and would welcome their support.” Luzier indicating that their campaign would further pursue the endorsement of MassCann if BSR does not get on the ballot.

 “We will be on the ballot, no question on that.”, Luzier on how important MassCann’s endorsement is for his org and for BSR? “That BSR sought support for social media and financial, indicates that it was very important for them.”

Yes it was, with MassCann/NORML’s endorsement and financial support, BSR’s campaign is alive at least for the next few months and maybe longer with a far better chance at appearing on the ballot than it did just a few days ago.

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