Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Orders Change to Ballot Question on Medical Marijuana

A judge on the state’s highest court today ordered a change in a planned ballot question to legalize medical marijuana in order to better describe the effect of a “yes” vote to approve the question.

In a six-page decision, state Supreme Judicial Court Judge Robert J. Cordy required Attorney General Martha Coakley and Secretary of State William Galvin to alter the statement on the ballot that a voter would check in favor of the question. Cordy said the so-called “yes vote” statement needs to show that it would authorize a system to produce and distribute marijuana, either at centers in the state or at qualifying patients’ homes. The statement would also appear in a state guide sent to voters in the mail.

Right now, according to Cordy, the statement only reflects that a yes vote would eliminate state penalties for the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. The statement does not mention that it would authorize the establishment of marijuana dispensaries, for example.

“Given this omission, I cannot say that the statement fairly ‘describes the effect of a yes .. vote,’ Cordy wrote. “Consequently, an order shall enter requiring the attorney general and the secretary to amend the statement to better reflect the dual nature of the initiative.”

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by opponents who sought changes to the yes statement, the summary of the question and the title.
The attorney general and secretary would need to submit proposed revisions to the statement to the state Supreme Judicial Court for review.
“In an effort to fairly alert voters to the consequence of a yes vote, the attorney general and the secretary must allude to both substantive elements of the initiative,” Cordy wrote.

– Read the entire article at Mass Live.