Massachusetts Votes Yes on Recreational Marijuana

Boston - Rachel Ramone Donlan (left), 44, and Linda Noel (right), 52, cheer as results regarding Question Four come in LIR Irish Pub. Photo by Crystal Milner/ BU News Service
Written by Erin Wade

By Erin Wade
BU News Service

By 11 p.m., with 52 percent of precincts reporting, many crowd members at the Yes on 4 watch party were confident in their side’s 6 point lead, shouting at the television, “We won!”

By 11:45, Yes on 4 officials cheered in the basement bar of Lir, giving victory speeches and waving signs reading, “Tax + Regulate Marijuana.”

“Tonight, we say to the voters of Massachusetts, thank you. We say to the voters of Massachusetts, you have done it again. You have put the state on the right path, like you did with so many other things, like civil rights, like gay marriage. Once again, we’re on the forefront of another great movement in America,” said Jim Borghesani, communications director for the Yes on 4 campaign, during a victory speech Tuesday night.

Massachusetts voters gave recreational marijuana use the green light Tuesday night, voting yes on ballot question 4 by a margin of 53.6 percent to 46.4 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

Chairman of the Yes on 4 Committee Dick Evans said at the watch party, “It’s time to close the book on marijuana prohibition.”

Leafly, an app that aims to educate users on cannabis, was at the party distributing matches, rolling papers and stickers with its logo emblazoned on them.

“This event is, kind of, one of the more mellow ones for people like me, because we’re just here to party. We’re here to help educate people, but we’re hoping for a yes,” said Ian Miller, a Leafly brand ambassador.

Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement early Wednesday morning, “We are committed to working with state and local officials to ensure Question 4 is implemented in the way voters intended.”

“Massachusetts has the opportunity to set an example for neighboring states and inform lawmakers as they consider adopting similar policies via their legislatures. This was not just a big win for the Commonwealth, but also for New England,” Schweich said.

Tuesday night’s voting also saw California and Nevada legalize recreational marijuana and Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota legalize medical marijuana in ballot referendums.

Jeremiah MacKinnon, a Yes on 4 volunteer, said at the watch party, “When laws are passed, especially by referendum, it’s not just about passing it, it’s also about implementing it correctly. That’s going to be the big task.”

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