Ten State Lawmakers Join Effort to Legalize Marijuana

Vote Yes on 4, they say.

Ten state lawmakers have come out endorsing the bid to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group pursuing legalization by ballot question, announced the roster of supporters on Thursday: three senators and seven state representatives, all Democrats.

“It’s time to get this over with,” said Belmont Sen. Will Brownsberger, senate chair of the Judiciary Committee, in a statement. “The prohibition approach to the control of marijuana use just has not worked.”

The announcements comes three weeks after a bipartisan team of top state politicians launched their effort to counter the legalization push. Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, and House Speaker Bob DeLeo all oppose the ballot question, and have joined forces to form a group called the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts. Attorney General Maura Healey is also opposed to the legalization.

In an interview, CRMLA spokesman Jim Borghesani says more endorsements “from across the spectrum” are coming in the “near future.” But he’s anticipating it will be a tough sell for many at the State House.

“The other side will probably have more endorsers. That’s what always happens in a status quo campaign,” he says. “It’s easy to support the status quo. But we’re pleased to have these legislators, and hopefully more will come around to the opinion that prohibition’s time has come and gone.”

Also listed as supporters in Thursday’s announcement:

  • Dave Rogers and Marjorie Decker, of Cambridge
  • Pat Jehlen, of Cambridge
  • Tom Sannicandro, of Framingham
  • Jamie Eldridge, of Acton
  • Michael Moran, of Brighton
  • Jay Livingstone, of Boston
  • Brian Mannal, of Centreville
  • Mary Keefe, of Worcester

“Despite decades of current policy, nothing has changed and the time has long since come to take a more realistic approach,” Rogers says in the statement. “By regulating and taxing the sale of marijuana in the Commonwealth we will allow law enforcement to focus on serious crimes, raise substantial revenue, and all but eliminate a dangerous black market.”

The proposed law, which will be Question 4 on the ballot in November, would allow adults to buy the drug in retail stores and grow small amounts of it at home. It would also create a new Cannabis Control Commission and set up new taxes on marijuana sales.