CALL TO ACTION
THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON MARIJUANA POLICY NEEDS AND WANTS TO HEAR FROM US REGULARLY: PLEASE ATTEND THEIR HEARINGS THAT BEGIN MONDAY!
Our contacts at the State House have made it very clear – The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy needs our input to help shape the implementation and fixes of the Massachusetts recreational marijuana law. This is an essential, urgent environmental prevention strategy to engage in NOW as we work to prevent youth marijuana use, and address the surging addiction epidemic in the Commonwealth.
HEARING DATES & TIMES
The first meeting of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy will be on:
Monday, March 20, 11:00am, Rooms A-1 and A-2 of the State House in Boston.
While this first “overview” hearing is focused on agencies already involved in the marijuana law with likely invitation-only speakers, our presence and written testimony is very important to this committee and its process. Please help us show the committee a strong presence of stakeholders who want our drug policies to prioritize public health and safety and prevent drug use and addiction. Please make the time to be there.
There will also be hearings on:
· Monday, 3/27, in Springfield
· Monday, 4/3, at State House
· Monday 4/10, in Shrewsbury
THREE THINGS WE CAN DO
1) Share this Call to Action with stakeholder groups in your communities and network. As written, this law will have real, detrimental, costly impact for our towns, communities, families and children. Encourage fraternal and civic organizations (Rotary and Lions Clubs); faith-based organizations (churches, synagogues, religious affiliates); business associations (local Chamber of Commerce and other business groups); and parent networks to engage in this advocacy work to prevent further youth substance abuse and addiction in the Commonwealth.
2) Attend these hearings and be prepared to speak directly to the Committee; submit written testimony. Most likely, the Committee will write an omnibus bill. At this point they want to hear from the public what, if any, changes to the existing law should be included, and why. To service their need, it’s best to include particular measures that must be included and why. For example:
- Measure – should the 3 member cannabis control commission be as passed in law or an independent regulatory body like the gaming commission with appointments made beyond the treasurer alone? Why?
- Measure – should the homegrown limit remain at 12 plants or be reduced to 6, 3 etc? Why?
- Measure – should there be a limit on THC potency? Why and to what level?
- Measure – should the excise tax be raised? Why and to what level?
To download a template letter to help get you started, click here>>
For a simple document on best practices for state marijuana policy, click here >>
For an excellent public health analysis of marijuana policy that was released in February 2016, click here >>
For the full list of legislators on the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, click here >>
3) Help coordinate stakeholders within your circles, network and community to attend and speak at these hearings. It is extremely important that public health and safety leaders, community advocates, health care providers, business owners, parents and even youth be present to submit testimony at these committee hearings. Every hearing needs 50 or more community, health, safety and youth advocates in attendance!
LOCAL OPT-OUT UPDATE
In case you missed this exciting news, last week the Town of Westborough voted overwhelmingly, 80% vs 20% to opt-out of commercial marijuana. We continue to receive requests for information and materials about the work that went into this local opt-out initiative. There is a group working to get people easy access to Westborough’s full story, including documents and materials that were used in their educational campaign. We will send notice when it is ready and available. Meanwhile, here’s the guide that helped inform Westborough voters prior to their Town meeting: http://marijuana-policy.org/massachusetts-commercial-marijuana-law-opt-out-the-westborough-guide/
Currently, if you would like more information on how Westborough opted-out of commercial marijuana, email Jody Hensley at: email@example.com
Westborough’s opt-out process was led by young women who are mothers and residents within the local faith-based network. The Massachusetts Family Institute reached out to offer their parent and family network across the state to help more communities do the same. Here is what Michael King, Director of Community Alliances, recently said in an email communication. “We are excited that Westborough voted to ban pot shops! We want to partner with towns, churches, and community groups all over Massachusetts to do the same! We have been working in Massachusetts for the past 25 years to advocate for family values in Massachusetts. We may not agree on all the issues, but for sure we can agree on this marijuana issue! We have established networks in towns all over Massachusetts that would be willing to work directly with key people to ban pot shops.” If your community is interested in opting-out of recreational marijuana, the Massachusetts Family Institute welcomes a call to discuss collaborating at the local level. Mr. King may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (978) 204-9131
National Families In Action just released a report about the movement to legalize marijuana and why it matters. To read the announcement and find the report, click here >>
The Team at the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance