The Massachusetts Prevention Alliance’s Marijuana Initiative addresses issues affecting the Commonwealth posed by efforts to legalize marijuana – both outright and for purported “medical” purposes. The Alliance educates residents on the unintended and unforeseen consequences of these policies, including increasing youth access, decreased perception of risk, and the bad precedent and health practice of approving medicine by political means, as opposed to scientific methods.
In 2008, Massachusetts voters approved decriminalization of the possession of up to an ounce (up to 120 joints) of marijuana for personal use. Under the law, possession by an individual results in a fine of $100 plus mandatory education for minors. Current efforts to further legalize marijuana use and expand its availability in Massachusetts, include;
- Proposed legislation to fully legalize marijuana
- Proposed legislation to legalize “medical marijuana” and make it available through state-sanctioned distribution centers
- Efforts to pass a Statewide Ballot Initiative legalizing “medical marijuana” and creating 35 state-sanctioned distribution centers (Nov. 2012)
- Short-term effects include: cognitive dysfunction and impairment, increased risk of injuries, drugged driving.
- Long-term effects include: impaired adolescent brain development, effects to the respiratory system, mental illness and addiction.
- Increased use of marijuana by youths ages 12-25 – directly linked to increased availability
- Decreased “perceived harm” of marijuana use, leading to increased use in youth ages 12-18
- Increased drugged driving arrests
- Increased crime – especially in states with sanctioned distribution centers, or “dispensaries”