By Colin A. Young/STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
One year ago, the battle over whether marijuana should be legal for adults to use was raging in Massachusetts. Now that it’s settled, the combatants are still engaged in a skirmish over how the legal marijuana market should be structured and regulated in Massachusetts.
The Cannabis Control Commission is in the middle of a series of listening sessions around the state and organizations from both sides of the legalization debate are hoping to pack those sessions to sway the commission’s regulations in their favor.
“We need the prevention community’s voice heard at these meetings,” the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, which opposed medical marijuana and adult use legalization, wrote to supporters in an email Tuesday. “PLEASE arrange your schedules to attend the remaining four of seven sessions THIS WEEK.”
Jody Hensley, policy advisor for the Prevention Alliance, said the organization wants to make sure community health supersedes interests of the marijuana industry as the CCC writes the rules of the budding industry.
“The overarching point is that the Cannabis Control Commission needs to be very clear that this drug is not harmless,” Hensley said. “Our government is here to protect us from the excesses of industry that could harm the public, and the Cannabis Control Commission is here to protect the people, not the industry.”
The alliance’s priority is protecting “community rights to maintain norms that protect families and children from drug use,” Hensley said. That means restricting marijuana edibles and concentrates “as much as possible,” limiting the potency of certain marijuana products, mandating strict advertising restrictions, cracking down on public consumption, and state-funded marijuana prevention education in every school.
“Open advertising of drugs works against protecting communities and families. Outlet density works against protecting families and children,” she said. “The data is clear; in