Big names are trying to take down Question 4 — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Cardinal Sean O’ Malley. They are all worried about the future of the state if the ballot question passes.
“This question sets up no cap on the number of pot stores, pot farms, in any of our communities,” said Walsh at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
A YES win would legalize recreational marijuana in the state, and backers of Question 4 point to a number of positive consequences — suggesting some $100 million could be added to tax revenues, the court system won’t be so clogged up with petty marijuana cases, and fewer people will turn to opioids.
“Cannabis is one of the best substitutes for pain management for opioids and it’s a reason why many patients don’t have to use opioids,” said Andy Gaus of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.
The ACLU of Massachusetts has also backed the YES side, saying black people are unfairly targeted by police when it comes to marijuana, arguing they’re 3 and a half times more likely than white people to be arrested for possession.
“Black and white both use marijuana at the same rates,” said Rahsaan Hall of the ACLU. “But yet there are these racial disparities in who gets arrested and who gets targeted.”
On the Vote No side, the Archdiocese of Boston has contributed $850 thousand to fight the legalization effort.
And some 150 religious leaders in the state have now signed on to Vote No.
“This legalization that we’re facing is not about decriminalization, it’s about the commercialization — bringing billions of dollars worth of dangerous drugs to the Commonwealth,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley.