When Massachusetts residents go to the polls this November 6, they’ll have the opportunity to vote on the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, also known as Question 3. If voters approve the initiative, medical marijuana will be decriminalized in my home state. I’m in favor of this for a variety of reasons.
For my fellow Massachusetts residents, here’s how the question will appear on the ballot:
A YES VOTE would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana, allowing patients meeting certain conditions to obtain marijuana produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.
A NO VOTE would make no change in existing laws.
Supporters of the initiative include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance and the Committee for Compassionate Medicine. Opponents include Dr. James B. Broadhurst, a Worcester doctor who treats people with addictions. He says the ballot initiative contains a gaping loophole that would allow a physician to prescribe medical marijuana for just about any debilitating medical condition. He’s part of a coalition called the Massachusetts Medical Society, formed in opposition to Question 3.
As a recovering addict, I respect Broadhurst’s concerns. Undoubtedly there will be those who easily talk their doctors into prescribing marijuana for whatever ails them. But that’s not reason enough to stop this.
I’m a food addict in recovery. If certain foods I’m addicted to had been illegal when I was abusing them, I would still have found a way to get them. Prohibition didn’t stop the flow of alcohol for addicts or anyone else in the 1920s. Moonshine simply became an easy way for mobsters to get rich.
Addicts will do whatever it takes to satisfy the demon, and plenty of people are willing to make money to help them do it.
Given that, we should do more than legalize marijuana just for medical purposes. We should legalize it altogether.
I’m not for legalizing the hard drugs, like cocaine, heroin and other narcotics. The effect those drugs have on the user are a lot more insidious and violent.
Pot is in a much lower class. It can turn the user into an incoherent blob of uselessness, but so can alcohol and the massive quantities of junk food a compulsive overeater ingests.
Most importantly, though, if medical marijuana can ease the pain of people suffering from a litany of dreadful maladies, I’m all for it.
I don’t have all the answers. I just have my opinion based on personal experience. If you want to try to sway me, the floor is now open for discussion.
“Pothead,” by Bob Dob