Marty Walsh opts out of mayors' marijuana coalition
By Dan Adams Globe Staff June 13, 2018
Call them the marijuana mayors.
The leaders of Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, and other cities where cannabis is legal have formed a new coalition to swap tips on how to best regulate the drug locally. The group, established at the US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston last weekend, also plans to advocate for federal policies that would make the pot industry safer and easier to control and tax.
Noticeably absent from its roster: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
In addition to shunning the new group, Walsh also declined to back two marijuana-friendly resolutions that won overwhelming support at the mayors’ conference.
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Walsh’s reluctance to engage publicly on cannabis policy underscores his lingering concerns about legalization. He was a leading opponent of the 2016 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in Massachusetts, and he has said his opposition was deeply rooted in his personal experience as a recovering alcoholic.
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Since the vote, the mayor has “focused on the implementation of marijuana legalization in Boston,” a spokeswoman for Walsh said. And some marijuana operators seeking approval to do business in Boston say his administration has been cooperative.
But as the public clamor for legalization grows nationally — 64 percent of Americans back legal marijuana and even President Trump has signaled support — Walsh’s discomfort with the issue puts him increasingly at odds with other big-city mayors, his own party, and with voters in his city, 62 percent