Mass. AG: Wait and learn from legal marijuana states


BOSTON >> Reiterating her opposition to legalized marijuana during a radio appearance on Tuesday, Attorney General Maura Healey said she believes people should weigh opinions from health professionals as debate continues on a ballot question that would legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana.

"I just say, wait. On the recreational marijuana, wait," Healey said during an interview on WGBH's Boston Public Radio. "Let's see how this continues to play out in these other states. I come back to the concerns I have about young people and the health effects on young people, and that's why I think it's important that people talk to doctors and members of the health community and get their perspective on things over the next couple months."

Massachusetts voters legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of the drug, both via ballot initiative. A measure poised to go before voters in November would legalize marijuana for general adult use, with taxes on sales and a commission overseeing regulation.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association opposes legalization, citing safety concerns including greater youth accessibility. Legalization supporters say that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

Healey said that she has spoken with an addiction specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who told her marijuana accounts for the "largest percentage of cases involving adolescents and addiction that they deal with." One in six adolescent marijuana users develop a physical dependence, she said.

"Those are doctors saying this," Healey said. "Don't look at me because what do I know, I'm just a J.D., but that's what they say, and I come at it from the perspective of, we know that today's marijuana is very different from the marijuana that I smoked and that was smoked in the '70s."

In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot questions to legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Retail sales began in those states in 2014. Oregon and Alaska voters in 2014 also legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana, but retail sales in these states have not yet begun, according to a report released last week by the Senate Committee on Marijuana.


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