Elizabeth Warren Still ‘Open’ to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

The senator wouldn't say if she backs Question 4.

Photo via iStock/Kenneth Wiedemann

Photo via iStock/Kenneth Wiedemann

Echoing similar remarks made last year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would be “open” to the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana, but would not give a full-throated endorsement of the state ballot question seeking to do so.

“Massachusetts is in a very difficult position, because we have decriminalized marijuana, but that means it’s fairly widely available,” Warren said Thursday. “But there’s no real regulation of it…and I think what we really need is to have some regulation of it, and that means I would be open to the possibility of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts decriminalized small amounts of marijuana via ballot initiative in 2008, and legalized medical marijuana the same way four years later. When pressed whether she would support Question 4 on this November’s ballot, Warren reiterated her call for greater regulation.

“What I just said is that I would be open to it because I think that the problem we’ve got right now in Massachusetts is that we’ve decriminalized it which makes marijuana available but there’s no regulation over it for safety,” she said.

Warren said the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s decision to keep marijuana classified a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin and bath salts “just makes no sense at all.” While recreational marijuana has been legalized in four states—Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon—this federal classification prevents researchers from further studying medical marijuana, Warren said.

The pols lining up in opposition to legalization include Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Attorney General Maura Healey, while Question 4 proponents count City Council President Michelle Wu, Councilor Tito Jackson, and former Gov. Bill Weld among their ranks.