Bay State Repeal Calls Off 2016 Ballot Measure, Massachusetts Legalization Issues Are Simplified

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Only one of two proposed marijuana measures will make it to the 2016 ballot in Massachusetts.

The Committee To Regulate Alcohol Like Marijuana (CRMLA) has gathered the number of signatures it needs to get its proposal on the ballot, according to a statement made Tuesday. The group has submitted the list of signatures to the secretary of state.

In a statement, CRMLA campaign manager Will Luzier said that “People can see that our current prohibition policy isn’t working, and they’re taking action to replace it with a more sensible system.”

In contrast, Bay State Repeal, a group headed by longtime local activists, stated Wednesday that it had not achieved the required number of signatures.

The two groups’ proposals differed greatly. CRMLA has proposed a heavily-regulated system that would result in a new state commission, as well as an excise tax on cannabis.

Bay State Repeal’s approach would have resulted in a much less restrictive system. The majority of existing retailers would have been allowed to sell cannabis, and the system would have been managed by existing state agencies.

Steve Epstein, who spoke on behalf of the group, said that although “we didn’t make it,” he would “use every skill in [his] power” to oppose the regulations proposed by CRMLA, and said that the proposal supports “crony capitalism.”

CRMLA spokesperson Jim Borghesani said in a statement:

“Though our approach differs from [Bay State Repeal]’s, we hope that all who supported BSR will join with us to end the 100-year-long hypocrisy of punishing adults for choosing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.”

Even if CRMLA’s measure does make it to the ballot, it will face opposition from elected officials, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker, who have publicly opposed any kind of marijuana legalization.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism


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