Skip to content

GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

Pot legalization activists encouraged by Mass. election results

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS – THURSDAY, NOV. 6, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

POT LEGALIZATION ACTIVISTS ENCOURAGED BY MASS. ELECTION RESULTS

With an average approval level of 72 percent, voters in eight Massachusetts House districts on Tuesday endorsed a non-binding question instructing their state representative to vote for legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol. According to the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, the eight districts cover 56 towns and the results continue a string of pro-marijuana votes in Massachusetts and around the United States. With the state Legislature largely uninterested in wading into a debate over marijuana laws, activists in Massachusetts have used the ballot in recent years to decriminalize possession of smaller amounts of pot and in 2012 to pass a law legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The question was posed to voters Tuesday in three Middlesex counties (14, 15, 24), the 8th Norfolk district, the 4th Barnstable, the 4th Berkshire, the 1st Essex, and the 2nd Franklin. The forum interpreted Tuesday’s results as supportive of general legalization of marijuana, an idea they may try to bring to the ballot in 2016. In a statement, DPFMA board member Alex Arsenault said, “Massachusetts voters have made their voices heard loud and clear; we are ready for marijuana legalization.” – M. Norton/SHNS

FIRST LAME-DUCK SESSIONS ON TAP

Massachusetts lawmakers have stuck to mostly local, non-controversial fare since formal sessions ended in early August and twice-weekly informal sessions began. Several bills with broader impact emerged in the House on Monday and both branches on Thursday morning plan to hold their first sessions since Tuesday’s elections. Challengers this year were able to defeat three incumbents – Wayne Matewsky of Everett, Denise Andrews of Orange, Rhonda Nyman of Hanover and Sen. Richard Moore of Uxbridge – and agreed to reelect the vast majority of lawmakers who sought a fresh two-year term. The new session won’t start until January and since Massachusetts is technically a full-time Legislature, lawmakers will continue meeting through November and December and are free to advance most of the thousands of bills still pending for this session as long as no one objects. Few lawmakers attend informal sessions so the threshold for advancing bills is often not as high as it would be during a heavily attended formal session. – M. Norton/SHNS

PATRICK HOSTING CABINET MEETING

A day after vowing a smooth transition to his successor, Republican Charlie Baker, Gov. Deval Patrick plans to bring his Cabinet secretaries together for a 10:30 a.m. meeting at the State House. The meeting was an addition to Patrick’s public schedule released on Wednesday. In the afternoon, Patrick will host ceremonial events in his office for three of his confirmed judicial nominees. – M. Norton/SHNS

JOHNSON: TSA DISCOVERED NEARLY 1,500 LOADED WEAPONS THIS YEAR

Federal agents over the first ten months of 2014 have discovered 1,471 loaded firearms in the carry-on baggage of individuals about to board airplanes in the U.S., according to the federal government. Last week alone, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA discovered 41 firearms, 34 of which were loaded, as well as 16 stun guns, four replica grenades, a 13-inch cane sword and a box cutter concealed in the lining of a carry-on bag. The TSA screens about 1.8 million passengers per day. In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the numbers reflect the difference agents are making every day through their work. – M. Norton/SHNS