Marijuana activists push weed reform bill

Suffolk University senior Sean McSoley spoke yesterday before the Judiciary Committee.

Suffolk University senior Sean McSoley believes an unregulated weed market contributes to violence and by legalizing and taxing pot, it would take cash out of criminals’ hands while promoting safer city streets.

“The prohibition of marijuana is the reason for the crime surrounding marijuana,” said McSoley before the Judiciary Committee on Beacon Hill yesterday.

McSoley spoke in support of a bill that would create a Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act aimed at eliminating drug-related crime and raising new revenue for Massachusetts.

During his testimony, McSoley recounted his run-in with two men who repeatedly stabbed him and “left him for dead” when he refused to give them his bag of weed while on the Boston Common two years ago.

“This would have never happened if it were a pack of cigarettes or a six pack of beer,” he said. “By legalizing this plant, these incentives to rob and kill would no longer exist.”

McSoley’s speech was met by applause from a handful of Emerson College and Suffolk University student supporters.

“I think [legalization] is moving in the right direction,” said Armando Vazquez, 19, a member of Emerson’s “Students for Sensible Drug Policy” group.

“Even though it’s quite slow, the discussion is not going to rest anytime soon,” he said.
Legislators overseeing the House bill voiced concern about more motorists driving while high and “opening a huge flood gate” to legalizing other drugs.

“If it’s OK with marijuana, should we legalize cocaine and LSD?,” said Rep. Sheila Harrington. “I’m not sure that the justification is people are breaking the law all the time and we should just open it up.”
McSoley, president of Suffolk’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, agreed certain regulations would have to be set in place if the bill were to move forward.

Not the first push for pot

Last June, members of the Joint Committee on Public Health heard testimony in favor of a bill that would allow nonprofit dispensaries to grow plants and prescribe medicinal pot to registered patients with varying disabilities and diseases under the watch of the state Department of Public Health.

That same month, Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, teamed up to co-sponsor a bipartisan bill to let states nationwide legalize, regulate and tax weed the way they do with alcohol­.

It was the first such bill introduced in Congress.

Proposed pot act

   
People would have to be 21 to partake in puffing
   
Bill would promote new jobs in commercial hemp and cannabis
   
It wouldn’t conflict with existing laws related to driving while high
   
An authority of seven directors would oversee regulations of distribution, cultivation
   
Board would issue cultivation, retail trade and other licenses as necessary
   
An excise tax would be collected by the state
   
The bill’s author suggests the Legislature will not act, but voters might in the future
   
Come November, voters will decide on medicinal use

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.