Greenfield forum planned on marijuana legalization question

For the Gazette
Published: 10/4/2016 3:10:22 AM

GREENFIELD — Massachusetts residents will go to the polls Nov. 8 to decide if the state will become one of the few in the nation where recreational marijuana use is legal.

People will have a chance to voice their concerns or pitch their questions to a panel of experts in law enforcement and public health Thursday night at a public forum on the topic.

The forum, sponsored by The Recorder, the Gazette, the Valley Advocate, other local media and Greenfield Community College, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in GCC’s Cohn Family Dining Commons.

The panel will feature Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and regional Opioid Task Force Director Paul McNeil, who oppose the question; and Attorney Richard Evans and Will Luzier, the campaign manager for Yes on 4, who advocate for the ballot question.

“The Recorder is orchestrating this program because the implications of legalization will be far-reaching in many aspects of our lives, not just in the areas of criminal justice and public health,” said the paper’s editor, George Forcier. “We’re hoping that engaging in a public discussion about the perceived pros and cons at an open event like this will help our area’s voters to make the best informed decision possible.”

Reporters from The Recorder, The Valley Advocate and WHMP will be joined by GCC students to direct the panel discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session.

The event will be simulcast live for people who cannot attend.

A “yes” vote would allow the use, cultivation, possession and distribution of recreational marijuana, and create a law that spells out in some detail the regulatory framework for making it happen. A “no” vote would make no changes to the current law, keeping only medical marijuana legal.

Currently, marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Massachusetts voters in 2012 approved medical marijuana use.


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