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Thoughts On Marijuana Changing All Over New England

A marijuana proponent smokes a marijuana cigarette on Boston Common on April 20, "4/20." (Anna Pinkert for WBUR)

A marijuana proponent smokes a marijuana cigarette on Boston Common on April 20, "4/20." (Anna Pinkert for WBUR)

On April 19, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the odor of marijuana is not enough to cause police to suspect criminal activity. Many celebrated the following day, April 20, traditionally an unofficial “holiday” for pot enthusiasts.

Here in Boston, marijuana proponents took to Boston Common, where many of them smoked pot openly. Since the passage of Ballot Question 2 in 2008, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is just a civil offence, like a parking ticket, punishable by a simple fine.

Over the last few years, many New England states have relaxed their marijuana policies — medical marijuana dispensaries opened earlier this year in Maine and three “compassion centers” are set to open in Rhode Island.

We explore the legal and social changes that have possibly brought marijuana use further into the mainstream.


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  • dontriskit

    BAD! I think it’s fine in measured use, but many people are NOT good at controlling it, waste their money on it, hurt their lungs and neurological health with it, and neglect important life responsibilities. It is not always mood “enhancing…”; people who become addicted crash when they are not on it and become irritable and when they are smoking it, they live in a cloud, not seeing the world for what it is and living inside of their heads and psychoses. It is for that x% of people who cannot control themselves that others will just have to deal with and not have “freedom” as a result of. But oh well. As someone who’s dealt with the x%, it would be remiss to suddenly unleash them to flounder in their uninhibited behavior and adversely impact the lives of those around them as well as their own.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a pile of manure dontriskit. Your entire post in baseless nonsense. Fortunately most people have the requisite native intelligence to figure out when they’re being lied to.

      What is it that makes you Know Nothing prohibitionists so hate the truth? Did the truth come to your home, kick in your front door and shoot your dogs dead? I swear that if the truth were to knock politely on the door of a know nothing that he would call the police and demand that it be arrested for trespassing.

      Get over yourself, because we’re not going anywhere.

      We’re not going to quit enjoying cannabis.

      We have just a hair under a century’s worth of evidence that supports the assertion that it’s a fool’s errand to try to stop us.


  • Jemimah

    Your anti-pot advocate sounds as if he knows absolutely nothing about the substance, other than he’s against it. I’m not a pot smoker, nor have I ever been, but I know plenty of responsible, successful, non-violent, non-addicted people who smoke pot the same way many people have a cocktail. Only, no one smokes pot and beats up his wife or children. Smoke’s not good for our lungs, alcohol’s not good for our livers. What’s the beef, then? Why does he think that the legalization of marijuana will lead to the legalization of all drugs?

  • guest

    actually smoking pot isn’t bad for your lungs. look at studies done by dr. tashkin of ucla who showed there’s no increased risk of cancer for smoking pot, if anything it reduces risk. harvard also conducted a study where thc cut tumors in rats by half. many other studies around the world have shown this too.

    • dontriskit

      Check out the NIH, a better authority than random studies: http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/marijuana.html — “marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problemsolving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks” Also:

      “Effects on the Lungs

      Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. ***In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.*** Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. ***Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue***, which could lead to cancer;6 however, a recent case-controlled study found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers. Thus, the link between marijuana smoking and these cancers remains unsubstantiated at this time.

      Nonetheless, ***marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections***. A study of 450 individuals found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers. Many of the extra sick days among the marijuana smokers in the study were for respiratory illnesses.”

      • Hempest

        NIH has their agenda which is to keep it illegal. You know that, right?

      • Anonymous

        Why in the world would anyone quote the work of demonstrated liars as if it were the truth? I’ll bet you believe that China wiped out drug addiction over the weekend too.

        Perhaps you even believe that smoking is the only delivery method? That wouldn’t be too shocking, as it seems you’ll fall for anything.

  • jason

    The social costs of alcohol & tobacco have killed millions, yet not one documented case of death by cannabis. RE-legalization is long overdue, & would free industrial hemp cultivation in the USA from the control of the DEA!

  • TokeOn

    It was interesting that all the people on the show and callers were essentially paid by the war on drugs. Naturally they would be against any liberalization of marijuana.

    • AB

      Iam perplexed by your comment. Our segment on marijuana featured three public radio reporters (Adam Ragusea, Megan Hall and Susan Sharon), a pro-legalization representative (Steven Epstein from NORML) and one conservative voice from the Heritage Foundation (Ernie Istook). Our callers included one in favor of legalization, one medical marijuana user who favored legalizations despte some reservations, and one social worker who had concerns about drug use among kids. Your contention is that all eight of these voices “were essentially paid by the war on drugs.” Really? What show were you listening to? AB

      • Pothead

        AB… Not to give the writer a hard time, but NO dispensaries in Maine have opened as of this date. One dispensary has begun limited deliver, while the others do not yet have any product available for those that are suffering.

  • cmn31

    you have got to be kidding me. I know plenty of people who are very successful and on occasion have smoked pot. It does not destroy lives like cigarettes or alcohol do. The oppression of this drug is ridiculous and needs to be changed. If we opened our eyes and stopped this stupidity and concentrated on the real problems w/ society our world would become a better place. Half of the nation has already started this change I’m waiting for the other half to come on board. Talk about saving the taxpayers some money, how much is thrown away every year trying to suppress something that is only growing. Now that is some change we can believe in.

  • Anonymous

    Attitudes are changing all over the country, in every region and among all demographic groups. According to Gallup, support for legalization has increased by 50% in the last decade alone (http://www.gallup.com/poll/144086/New-High-Americans-Support-Legalizing-Marijuana.aspx).

    Why the sudden surge in support? Well, the internet has made it a lot easier to debunk government lies about marijuana. It’s hard to convince people that smoking pot kills brain cells when they can simply use Google to avail themselves of the actual scientific evidence(http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/mjfaq1.htm).

    And then of course there’s the fact that fifteen states have legalized marijuana to varying degrees and not one of the predicted disasters (increased crime, insanity, traffic/workplace accidents, etc.) has actually ensued.

    Marijuana prohibition is based on lies and misinformation. It cannot survive in the age of Google. A few useful links for those of you interested in hard data:

    FBI crime data: http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/StatebyState.cfm
    Traffic fatality data: http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/States/StatesFatalitiesFatalityRates.aspx
    US Teen drug use trends: http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/10data.html#2010data-drugs

    • Anonymous

      Crime increase? What crime increase? Try reality on for size for a change: crime rates have fallen off of a cliff in California since the Compassionate Use Act was passed in 1996.

      1996 population:……31,878,000

      crime index:…. 5,207.8
      violent crime:….. 862.7
      property crime:.4,345.1

      2009 population:……36,961,664

      crime index:….. 3,203.5… -38.487%
      violent crime:……. 472.0…. -45.29%
      property crime:.. 2,731.5…. -37.14%


      This is your brain. {{{}}}
      This is your brain on prohibition. {null}
      Any questions?

      • Anonymous

        pfroehlich2004 said ” …not one of the predicted disasters… has actually ensued.” He was saying how there has not been an increase in crime or falling skies.

        A+ on the Quick Draw Stats though ;)

      • Pfroehlich2004

        Yikes Duncan, a little quick on the trigger there. Don’t you recognize my handle from Drugwarrant or any of the myriad comments sections where you and I both regularly argue against prohibition?

        • Anonymous

          Fairuse, my post was meant as supporting evidence for the assertion made by pfroehlich2004. I guess I think that if violent crime down over 45% and property crime down over 37% is more impressive than just breaking even. Not that you mention it I’ll acknowledge that I could have commented in a less ambiguous way. BTW I have similar data WRT the other two issues he mentioned but my citations are more or less the same level as his so I didn’t add those. Actually, I ‘ll likely be able to improve my arguments on the other two issues because of the links pfroehlich2004 posted.
          pfroehlich2004 I sincerely apologize for the ambiguity in my post. Of course I recognized you from drugwarrant.com. I do especially appreciate the traffic fatality link, and probably the teen use numbers too but that will have to wait until I’ve girded myself to take a look.

          BTW I wrote my post above a couple of months ago. The effort amounts to copy, paste, submit, done. Hmm, OK, I must admit “fast draw stats” is an accurate descriptor for that comment.

      • http://www.cannabistraininguniversity.com Jeffrey Z

        Well said. More people need to be made aware of these figures.

  • http://www.cannabistraininguniversity.com Jeffrey Zorn

    It does not take a genius to see that marijuana should be legal like alcohol and cigarettes are.
    Cannabis causes far fewer adverse side effects than both alcohol and tobacco do. We could tax and regulate cannabis and help our struggling economies. We also should be able to grow industrial hemp, which would help our economy, limit our dependence on oil, save our trees, lower greenhouse gases, and a slew of other positive environmental reasons as well.
    Obviously big players (pharmaceutical, corn, oil) do not want to see this happen.
    And unfortunately our nation is mainly run by these big influencers who care only about their bottom line and not for the well-being of american citizens or the health of our planet.

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