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Question 4 to be on the November ballot

The impending presidential election is on the minds of many these days. But Massachusetts voters will also get a chance to be the first state in New England to legalize marijuana, even if Maine will also be voting on it the same day. The state would join Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, the District of Columbia and Alaska in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Massachusetts first passing its medical marijuana law in 2012. If approved, the law would go into effect Dec. 15. Under the new law, citizens at least 21 years of age would be able to use, possess and grow marijuana.

General guidelines for Question 4:

  • Possession - Individuals may possess up to 10 ounces in their home and under one ounce in public.
  • Growing - Individuals may grow up to six marijuana plants in their home.

If the new law is passed, the newly formed Cannabis Control Commission would oversee the rollout of marijuana legalization in the state as well as be in charge of the licensing and regulations of businesses who wish to sell marijuana products. To no one's surprise, taxation of marijuana is looked upon as boon for the state and local coffers. State taxes would be 3.75 percent excise tax with local municipalities able to add up to another 2 percent. Early reports from Colorado and Washington say that marijuana tax collections have exceeded original projections.

At this time, Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Attorney General Maura Healey have gone on record as against it. Former governor Bill Weld leads the group of supporters with several state senators and state representatives onboard. A Western New England University poll reveals that 57 percent of those polled were in favor of legalization with 35 percent opposed, although some polls have showed the margin to be much closer.

It's currently too early for data on the change in OUI rates in states where marijuana is legalized, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the overall national percentage of adults who say they use pot has nearly doubled to 13 percent in three years.

Regardless of findings, scientists and law enforcement are making advances in how to accurately measure the level of THC in a vehicle operator's body. As with alcohol, expect marijuana OUI laws to remain stringent even if it becomes legal.

If you or a friend get pulled over on suspicion of OUI, the smart course of action is to contact an attorney knowledgeable in the areas of OUI and DUI here in Massachusetts. They may be your best possible option for getting a sentence and/or fine reduced or the case dismissed.

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