Wednesday, November 3, 2010

to no ones surprise, 18 districts approve marijuana reform

While hard to find, there is some good news from this years election cycle. The good folks at DPMFA, (Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts)work tirelessly in continuing to ask the voters how they feel about medicinal cannabis and regulated sales and taxation. The voters once again have weighed in on this subject, as Framingham did in 2000, with an overall average of 61%. Hard to argue against with those numbers.

From the DPFM:

Massachusetts voters ask legislators to allow medical use, repeal prohibition on sales

Arlington - For the sixth consecutive election cycle, voters in select State Representative and Senate districts delivered overwhelming victories on marijuana reform Public Policy Questions.

After approving a historic statewide decriminalization referendum in 2008 by an overwhelming 65% margin, Massachusetts voters returned to the polls yesterday and passed non-binding medical marijuana and regulation/taxation Public Policy Questions in 18 districts. Since 2000, voters have approved a total of 63 marijuana PPQ's around the state on reforms including decriminalizing possession, allowing medical use, and repealing prohibition on sales and taxation. For 2010, voters in 74 towns took part in deciding 18 marijuana PPQ's.

Medical Marijuana. Voters in nine (9) State Rep. districts overwhelmingly approved lanaguage allowing medical use of marijuana by a total of 59% to 41%, again urging the State Legislature to join the fourteen U.S. states allowing physician-directed use of cannabis. Since 2000, voters have approved all 20 State Rep. and two (2) State Senate medical marijuana PPQ's in different regions of the Commonwealth.

DPFMA has been working with the state legislature to pass H.2160, the “2009 Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act” sponsored by Rep. Frank Smizik. Currently fourteen states including Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine have passed similar legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and imprisonment. These PPQ's outline the basics of H.2160 and demonstrate the overwhelmingly public support for the bill.

In January 2008 the American College of Physicians released a landmark position paper endorsing full legal protection for medical marijuana patients. (full report: The ACP represents 124,000 member doctors and is the second largest physician group in the US. Here in Massachusetts H.2160 has been endorsed by the Massachusetts Nurses Alliance, Massachusetts Public Health Association, and many other health and legal experts, as part of the legislative campaign by Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance (see full details at

Marijuana Regulation and Taxation. Voters in eight (8) State Rep. and one (1) State Senate district approved PPQ's advising legislators to enact a regulatory system of sales and taxation for marijuana. Massachusetts voters showed they are ready to embrace a new approach, passing all 9 advisory questions with an overall 61% approval.

Lay offs at Biogen

Biogen Idec will slash about 650 jobs as part of cost cutting moves announced in a regulatory filing today.

The biotech company, which moved over the summer to a gleaming new headquarters in Weston, said it will reduce its work force of about 5,000 by 13 percent. Biogen also will close its facilities in Waltham, Wellesley and San Diego.

This couldn't have come at a worse time.