Massachusetts Medical Society, 10 other statewide groups say they oppose Question 4 legalizing recreational marijuana
The Massachusetts Medical Society and ten other statewide physician groups on Tuesday said they oppose Question 4, the November ballot measure seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the Bay State.
“Physicians believe that its approval would simply be a big step backward for public health and safety in our state,” James Gessner, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said in a statement.
The group also opposed a 2012 ballot question that legalized marijuana for medical use. The state currently has seven medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Mass. Medical Society and the other statewide organizations said the legalization of recreational use would be a danger to highway safety and young people “despite a proposed ban on sales to those under 21,” as well as a risk of addiction that ranges from 9 percent to 50 percent.
In outlining their objections to the measure, the Mass. Medical Society echoed many of the ballot criticisms voiced by the opposition group, Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, including concerns about marijuana functioning as a gateway drug.
“We know that marijuana harms the health and development of children and adolescents,” Michael McManus, a past president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in his own statement. “Making it more available to adults, regardless of restrictions, increases access for teenagers and persuades them that marijuana is not dangerous.”
The groups’ opposition to Question 4 came a day after the “Yes on 4” camp launched a television ad with a Tom Nolan, a former Boston cop who is now an associate professor at Merrimack College. He called Question 4 “a smart choice to protect families.”
“Question 4 requires strict product labeling and childproof packaging and bans advertising directed at kids,” Nolan said in the ad. “And Question 4 bans consuming marijuana in public.”
The other groups joining the Mass. Medical Society in opposing Question 4 include:
- Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians
- Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians
- Massachusetts Psychiatric Society
- Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians
- Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists
- Massachusetts American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Massachusetts Gastroenterology Association
- Massachusetts Society of Neurosurgeons
- Massachusetts Association of Practicing Urologists