Marijuana isn't legal in Massachusetts...but it's mighty close.
Right now the state is finalizing plans to open 20 dispensaries this summer, after voters approved medical marijuana in 2012.
In 2008, the state voted to decriminalize pot. So--if you just smoke it, and don't try to sell it--the price you'll pay for getting caught is just $100.
Now, with Colorado and Washington recently legalizing recreational use, we wondered if you think Massachusetts will eventually legalize marijuana.
To find out, we talked on Skype and FaceTime, and went to Dudley Square in Roxbury and South Station in Boston:
"Well it sounds like after Colorado and Washington there maybe a national trend to legalize it....but i don't agree with it," Frank Keough of Foxboro said. Andy Hiller: "Why don't you agree with it?" Keough: "Well I think marijuana is like, dangerous physically, medically....ya know, we make a major effort to ban smoking and it seems to me that marijuana is at least as bad as smoking."
Kegan Smith of Boston said: "I'm okay with it. You think of all the people who are arrested um for really just possession or for distribution, you decriminalize it, or if you legalize it, then you are freeing up the prisons for real crimes, crimes that are serious and violent." Hiller: "Do you think, some people say, that drug laws have been used unfairly against minorities, do you think that? Smith: "Yes. Absolutely, if you look at statistics as far as drug use versus people who are incarcerated for drugs then its primarily people of color."
Meredith Rabs of Methuen said: " I think prisons are crowded and the amount of money that goes into funding a prison for crimes regarding marijuana is just silly."
While we found a general acceptance, and even enthusiasm in South Station for legalizing marijuana, in Dudley Square we found more apprehension.
Chad Bell of Boston said: "I don't smoke it. So I don't know." Hiller: "Do you think the state should legalize it?" Bell: "You might as well legalize it, you can control it better if you legalize it." Hiller: "You think the state will be able to control it? Bell: "Yeah I think they will be able to. Yea, of course they will." Hiller: How about for young kids?" Bell: "That's a different story- parents should control that. That's parents, parents should be controlling that."
Robin Langston of Boston said: "I think that by legalizing it is going to open up more you know more doors for younger people to get their hands on it." Hiller: Is it going to be worth it or not going to be worth it?" Langston: "I don't think it's going to be worth it. I think it's just going to ruin the generation, the younger generation."
And then we turned to social media to hear your opinions.
Justin Cabrera a student at Salem State University said, "I think if it's legalized and regulated, it can be taxed like alcohol. And so it should be treated like alcohol."
Nicole Farina said, "I don't think the problems with weed would surpass problems that we have currently with alcohol." Hiller: "If somebody gave you a choice between marijuana and alcohol you would think you were safer with marijuana?" Farina: "I would - because you don't hear- you hear about drunk driving, but you never hear about people behind the wheel having smoked marijuana, like, getting into accidents."
So, this is a little different. I'll talk to you on the computer, or on a street corner.
For a long time I've been telling you my instinct, now I'd like to hear yours.
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