Massachusetts Legalizes Marijuana, Denies Expansion for Charter Schools

Along with overwhelmingly voting for Hillary Clinton for President, voters in Massachusetts opted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and denied a proposed lift in the state’s charter school cap.

Question 4, which will legalize the recreational use of marijuana, was approved by a slim margin and called late Tuesday night by the Boston Globe.

The new policy, which will take effect Dec. 15, legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for individuals age 21 and older. The lead in the election oscillated early in the night as votes came in, however “Yes” squeaked out a win as the hours got later.

Massachusetts joins Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington as states with legalize recreational marijuana. Four other states—California, Arizona, Maine and Nevada—also considered similar ballot proposals Tuesday.

While the results bode well for those who use the drug, Harvard and other universities around Massachusetts are unlikely to alter their current policies banning marijuana on campus.

The contentious Question 2, which would have increased the number of approvals for new or expanded charter schools to 12 per year at most, was soundly defeated by Massachusetts voters, the Boston Globe projected. The ballot proposition split Massachusetts Democrats, including the Harvard Democrats, and was originally projected to be far closer than what was reported.

The Harvard Democrats, while internally split, were officially in the “No” camp, and expressed excitement at the results late Tuesday night.

“I think that what we saw is simply a reflection of the underlying values that people in this state have,” the Harvard Democrats' point person on Question 2 Henry S. Atkins ’20 said. “All I can say is that I couldn’t be happier that we averted a public education disaster.”

On the other side of the measure were the Harvard Republicans, following suit with Massachusetts Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79.

“I’m disappointed,” Republican Club Treasurer W. Kent Haeffner ’18 said. “I think that the people who are going to be most disappointed though are the families of the 32,000 kids who are waitlisted.”

Haeffner partially attributed the defeat of Question 2 to Mass. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who came out strongly against the measure.

Also on the ballot this year were two questions regarding gambling and farm animal containment.

Question 1 and Question 3 did not receive nearly as much coverage as Questions 2 and 4. Massachusetts residents voted strongly to deny the state’s Gaming Commission to add one more slot-machine establishment in the state, the Boston Globe reported.

Question 3, which was backed heavily by animal rights groups, was approved overwhelmingly by Massachusetts residents according to the Boston Globe. The question would “prohibit any confinement of pigs, calves, and hens that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely.”

—Staff writer Joshua Florence can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaFlorence1.


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