Clarence Fanto: Voters have spoken on pot; let's respect their decision
By Clarence Fanto
LENOX — I’m no fan of so-called recreational marijuana. There’s a long list of recreational activities that are far healthier for the body, mind and soul than this cannabis substance containing the intoxicating chemical THC, nor am I endorsing other drugs, including alcohol.
Respected local specialist Dr. Jennifer Michaels, medical director of the Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, has discussed the impact of alcohol, marijuana and opioids on a young adult’s still-developing brain.
But marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked, and the voters of Massachusetts have resoundingly approved the legalization of pot for medical use and for pleasure by adults 21 and older. Every town in Berkshire County voted in favor of the November 2016 ballot question, some by landslide margins.
So, cannabis is legal in Massachusetts and seven other states, including Maine, Colorado and the entire West Coast plus Alaska.
It remains illegal under federal law, listed on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule 1 along with heroin, LSD, mescaline, ecstasy and a half-dozen others. That’s absurd, of course, and it’s worth noting that on Schedule 2, listing somewhat less dangerous drugs, we find cocaine, fentanyl, methadone, oxycodone, Vicodin, Dexedrine, Adderall, Ritalin and a few more.
The DEA states that the Schedule 1 drugs have “a high potential for abuse, the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence and no currently accepted medical use.”
So, with retail drug sales set to begin in Massachusetts on July 1, under regulations soon to be adopted by the Cannabis Control Commission and by local communities, what’s a U.S. attorney based in Boston and appointed by President Donald Trump to do?
Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney, has declined to rule out prosecutions against state-licensed marijuana growers and manufacturers.
But many legal experts point out that he was merely avoiding a clash with his masters at the