Good news this week from the newly appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling. In a statement released Monday, Lelling said, “This is a straightforward rule of law issue. Congress has unambiguously made it a federal crime to cultivate, distribute and/or possess marijuana. As a law enforcement officer in the Executive Branch, it is my sworn responsibility to enforce that law…”
He’s right. 2016’s ballot question vote may have “legalized” the production and sale of marijuana in our state’s laws, but it is still illegal under federal law. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration continues to list marijuana as a Schedule I Drug. This means that marijuana is classified as having “a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.” Pot advocates are up in arms, as the threat of federal prosecution could put a real damper on their plans to create a lucrative marijuana industry in MA.
I’m sure we’ll continue to hear the mantra that marijuana is not addictive and really shouldn’t be illegal anyway. In fact, Governor Baker and Attorney General Healey, both of whom vocally opposed marijuana legalization, have now apparently changed their tunes. This is highly unfortunate. If recreational marijuana was bad for our commonwealth in 2016, it’s still bad now. Our elected leaders should not be afraid to stand on principle, even if it’s deemed unpopular. The spread of recreational marijuana has real consequences for families in Massachusetts. Just last week, I met with a father whose son recently matriculated at a local college on an athletic scholarship. He showed me a picture of a healthy and happy young man ready to make his way in the world. Tragically, while at school, the son started regularly using marijuana to “help him relax.” He has since stopped his athletic involvement and spends most of his time at home with his newfound friends smoking weed. The father told me his son is almost unrecognizable now, and he is very concerned about his future. We should embrace the prospect of the US Attorney enforcing federal law in Massachusetts if it helps keep our Commonwealth a safer place for our children.
For our families,