Massijuana: Recreational Marijuana Legal in Massachusetts
There is a fever pitch in Boston and around Massachusetts right now, but it has nothing to do with their sports teams or infrastructural changes. The feeling of euphoria and joy around Ma. right now is the result of question 4 that was presented on the ballot this year.
Question 4 was about the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Though Massachusetts had a fairly efficient medical marijuana system in place, what many don’t understand is demand outweighed supply before the ruling even passed.
You are talking about Ma. medical cannabis users being turned away at well known dispensaries because the dispensaries were not properly stocked or managed. The end result of this was a state filled with patients who could not get their medicine when needed. So when question 4 was raised on the ballot, a fire was lit under those residents because they knew if the bill passed, the “supply/demand” ratio would even itself out.
On top of that, great minds like Sanjay Gupta also helped sway the public’s opinion about this miracle plant over the last few years, so even people who may not have used it were kind enough to vote yes because they are now aware of its medical benefits (as well as what little harm it actually poses to society).
It is a step in the right direction for Massachusetts, and a clear sign that the cannabis scene and subculture is genuinely moving from subculture to actual culture. Between Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts (and some others now, too), the world is waking up collectively to the power of this plant and the best of us know the world will only be better as a result.
Question 4, Supporters and Naysayers
The overall feeling in Massachusetts as question 4 drew closer and closer was one of hope. Even the Boston Globe stepped up and ran a piece about how this would be beneficial to both people and the state, medically AND financially speaking. Also, don’t forget, at the end of the day the Simpson’s said it best when they called Massachusetts Taxachusetts. Ma. loves tax revenue (as most states do), so once they saw the numbers posted for Colorado, the result of question 4 was already evident.
But don’t be fooled. There were people who were very much against it and they aired their grievances any chance they had. So the result of the vote, as set in stone to pass as some people hoped it was, had a small window of failure with some others with alternative agendas doing all they could to ensure the bill didn’t pass.
One of those naysayers was, of all people, the Archdiocese of Boston (not the same archdiocese who hid child molesters in the 90’s but the guy who took his job when he was promoted to the Vatican. And yes, everything just stated is 100% true) He invested $850,000.00 AGAINST question 4 three weeks before the vote was to be made. As one can expect, almost a million dollars being put against a bill last minute does not bode well the for its passing.
Luckily enough, some well-to-do Massachusetts residents heard that and donated over a million towards the cause a moment later. It worked.
What’s Next for Massachusetts and Recreational Cannabis?
That is a great question, and one Boston doesn’t really have an answer for. What they did was pass the bill and then immediately let residents know it kicks into effect December 15th of this year.
But what is really interesting about this (interesting in a sort of irrational way) is, the lawmakers and bill signers are going to work out the taxation details and how the stores will run over the next year. Which means cannabis is legal for recreational use in one month, but they are not allowing actual storefronts to open or any place to carry anything UNTIL 2018. Now take a minute to absorb that information.
This raises a wonderfully perplexing question for the residents who are now very excited to get their hands on cannabis but have never gotten any before, don’t know how, and don’t know where to start looking.
Now for the people who have their Massachusetts medical cannabis cards, they can still hit up dispensaries, but let it be known, dispensaries around Ma. are few and far between (very far between as in 100 miles between some of them) and to say they understock would be an understatement.
So the best and brightest Massachusetts residents are now scratching their heads. Yes, cannabis will be legal within one month, but um, how do they get it?
No, really, how do they get it? That question will be an article within itself, stay tuned.
Puts Wrong People At Advantage
So the SINGLE problem with passing question 4 in Massachusetts now presents itself. The people who have never used marijuana and now know that most of what they learned over the course of history regarding the plant was propaganda, they want to try it. They want to set aside the biases forced upon them and finally judge for themselves. But yet, the way they set this up, people who deal and people who know dealers and such will be at a great advantage over people who do not.
Same can be said for people with medical cards in state. And even then, from local reports, the dispensaries are not properly stocked, with the most popular dispensary in Ma. (no names here) putting buy limits on everything (quarter for flower, gram for oils and concentrates) which presents a whole new issue. If they cannot meet demand now, how will they meet it in a year’s time?
It is not uncommon in Massachusetts for a local medical cardholder to drive two hours to a place only to be literally turned away because the dispensary “ran out.” This is not okay, and the locals are wondering and worrying a bit if that is how hard it is for card holders to even get their hands on it, how difficult will it be for non-card holders over the next year?
Only time will answer this query.
The Future of Recreational Marijuana Legal Use in Massachusetts
As stated above, that is a question only time will answer. For now, anyone related to the industry and cannabis subculture knows regardless, this is a step in the right direction for this miraculous medicine. The only problem is, like all things, some bugs need to be worked out for it all to operate smoothly and benefit all parties involved.
Truth is, no one in Massachusetts should really be celebrating until it is known just how much Massachusetts is going to choose to tax this and what other finite limitations will be set in place. There is always fine print, after all.
Packs of cigarettes around Boston commonly got for close to eleven dollars, so if that is any indication, will anyone be celebrating hundred dollar eighths? Probably not, but at least the ball is rolling in the right direction and changes are being made.
Now let’s just hope these changes benefit the right people over time. Namely, those who have been fighting for this for years and advocating for this very thing.
In the meantime, congratulations to Massachusetts, Maine, and the few others who have now been gifted with recreational marijuana use.
May the rest of the country follow your lead.
Featured image by Ryan Mannie via Flickr.