Rep. Kane urges caution on marijuana vote

By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer

Shrewsbury – State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) appeared before the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen to brief them on her take of state Ballot Question 4 – to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.

She claimed that the industry expects within two years of legalizing recreational marijuana it could be a $1.2 billion market in Massachusetts. Noting Colorado’s history with recreational marijuana, she told the meeting that recreational marijuana contains 17-18 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects), about five times as much as the recreational marijuana from the 1980s, and that edibles can have a potency as high as 95 percent THC.

She then highlighted all of the aspects of the bill coming before voters: There will be no limit on the number of stores that can sell recreational marijuana or the potency of the product; mass-marketing will be allowed; cities and towns cannot limit or regulate home-growing; tax rates are to be set very low, meaning little revenue after new expenses for the state; there will be no protection against “drugged-driving;” and the bill contains a legal “loophole” under which the industry can invalidate any rule which it believes is “unreasonably impracticable.”

Further, she continued, the proposition, if passed, will require communities to allow a recreational marijuana store anywhere there is legal medical marijuana sold and will require towns to get a majority vote of citizens if it wants to opt out. Any medical marijuana shop will be able to add recreational marijuana sales. Any city or town that now has a medical marijuana shop must be allowed to also sell recreational marijuana – no zoning or act of the Cannabis Control Commission can interfere. Finally, if recreational marijuana state regulations are not in place by Jan. 1, 2018, medical marijuana shops must be allowed to start to sell recreationally.

Finally, said Kane, Question 4 presents an initiative process for “marijuana bars” in cities and towns; 10 percent of voters can force a vote to allow marijuana consumption on business premises. There is no threshold provision in the law to prevent “drugged-driving” and currently no field test for determining impairment, unlike alcohol which can be detected with a breathalyzer. Kane noted that marijuana can stay in the body’s fat cells for as long as a month.

Financially, said Kane, this proposition makes no sense. Marijuana taxes in other states are as high as 43 percent. In Mass., this proposition will cap sales and excise taxes at 10 percent, with a local option of 2 percent. If passed Tuesday, Nov. 8, it will become law Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, when the legislature is out of formal session. While a three-person Cannabis Control Commission will be established, it has no start-up funding source identified. Massachusetts would be the fifth state to legalize marijuana. Washington State’s experience has been that marijuana impaired fatal driving accidents have doubled in the first since legalization in that state.

“The implications of this vote may blind-side people,” said Kane.

Kane wrapped up her presentation by telling the selectmen that she has been working to educate and inform voters prior to the November vote.

“I have been working as part of a broad, diverse, bi-partisan coalition, including the medical community and businesses,” she said. “This is not a simple philosophical vote we are being asked to take, this is a question of do we want to implement legalization of recreational marijuana in this specific manner.”

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=79184

Posted by on Oct 4 2016. Filed under Byline Stories, Shrewsbury, This Just In. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Rep. Kane urges caution on marijuana vote”

  1. Can you please explain to me why the prohibitionists keep thinking stronger cannabis is a problem? First of all, it is not really true, there was plenty of high THC strains available in the 1980’s But more importantly, stronger means you can use less to get your effective dose. I can inhale once with a more potent cannabis strain whereas with a less potent strain I might have to inhale several times. This argument is like saying you shouldn’t allow a 500mg aspirin because it has a higher does than an 80mg aspirin. But if 500mg is what I need for my headache why would you make me eat 6 or 7 pills instead of one?

    1) There are clear limits on the number of stores in the proposed laws.
    2) You can’t be upset there is going to be an industry and then object to home grown which would give people an option outside of that industry.
    3) 12% tax is higher than most consumer items and to make it too high will encourage the black market to continue. Remember it is the black market that is selling oxy and molly and cocaine and heroin to our children, not a regulated cannabis industry.
    4) Drugged driving is absolutely illegal so why does Kane say there will be no protection?
    5) “Loophole”? Complete and utter nonsense. What is this supposed loophole. The cannabis commission will make any regulations that are necessary to control the industry. They don’t get to reject something they don’t like. Come on.
    6) I love this argument Kane and her ilk use; if the law is passed then stores will be allowed to sell cannabis. Yeah, no duh. That’s kind of the point. If recreational stores are not up and running then who better to fulfill the need than existing medical shops? This kind of circular argument really makes me mad.
    7) “Cannabis can stay in fat cells for as long as a month” And? What is your point? That doesn’t mean a person is impaired in anyway. I am a medical patient who microdoses daily and I am never high or impaired.
    8) If Cannabis is legal (and safer than alcohol) what would be the problem with cannabis clubs?

    Don’t take my word for it and don’t take Kane’s either. A little searching online and you will find the truth for yourself.

  2. Question #4 is not really about legalizing marijuana, it is about regulating marijuana that has been decriminalized since 2008 and is widely available. This Boston University debate video clearly spells this out. State law makers say they have just been too busy to address the issue. It is a bit long but very informative, especially the ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjwlCmTvE44

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