Backers of a referendum question seeking to legalize the everyday use of marijuana apparently don’t want any competition in the marketplace of ideas.
That seems the only explanation for their knee-jerk reaction to Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh getting behind the group that opposes legalizing pot.
According the Associated Press, the anti-marijuana committee, called the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, said it planned to file papers with the state office of Campaign and Political Finance, which would allow it to begin raising money to fight a proposal that appears likely to go before voters on the November ballot.
Other high-profile politicians, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo and state Sen. Jason Lewis, also joined the anti-marijuana group. Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, led a Senate delegation that visited Colorado in January to observe that state’s experience with legal marijuana.
So on Friday, members of the Campaign to Regulate Alcohol like Marijuana held a press conference outside the Statehouse to denounce and ridicule Baker and Walsh for their decision. The pro-grass group highlighted its disdain by presenting a cartoon poster depicting Baker and Walsh with the caption, “Our health policy: Drink more alcohol!”
Aside from its sophomoric content, this message was in incredibly poor taste, since it’s well-known that Walsh is a recovering alcoholic.
Also, somehow suggesting that Baker’s backing of a municipal-finance reform package that would give cities and towns control over liquor licenses is an endorsement of that industry defies common sense. It’s a comprehensive measure designed to cut through government bureaucracy and restore more local control.
For a state in the midst of an opioid and opiate epidemic, where abusers now commonly overdose in fast-food restaurant restrooms and other public places, we agree with the governor’s all-out opposition to legalizing marijuana. The last thing we need is an official stamp of approval for another potential gateway to substance abuse.
Yes, the pro-marijuana lobby sees no reason why anyone 21 and older should be denied a grass-laced brownie or gummy bear, but there’s another side of the story that’s supported by every law-enforcement department and agency in the state.
So before voters in the November general election weigh in on whether to legalize marijuana, let those for and against that proposition compete for the public’s opinion.
We trust that the public will see through personal attacks and separate fact from fiction.