Locally, the voters of Massachusetts approved a highly regulated marijuana market that would ensure products were taken off the street and into homes and small businesses where their safety could be assured by the government and the users pay back the community for the privilege of using the product. Instead, we have a Wild West status quo where people selling to my students outside of schools have little incentive not to do so under lax enforcement mechanisms, no businesses are propping up, medical marijuana is still stigmatized in communities, and that CO and WA revenue isn’t coming in and it’s desperately needed.
The Feds should decriminalize, which is the easiest bipartisan fix we could pass today, and get out of marijuana entirely and allow the states to compete over which ideas work best. I think CO and WA did a better job than MA, mainly because their policies were crafted by public health professionals in consult with legislators before the proposals came to voters.
MA marijuana regulation has been half baked. Advocates put a law on the ballot that taxed too low and left the regulatory mechanisms to our hapless legislature. Opponents, particularly elected law enforcement officials, ran a really dishonest reefer madness style campaign rather than coming to the table and putting their stamp on the inevitable policy changes the voters wanted. Compromise and common sense for a well regulated product that’s off the streets and taxed properly in above board small businesses is the sweet spot we can achieve locally and learn from states doing a better job. Sessions and the DOJ should get out of the way and let states experiment with best practices.