By Steve Elliott
Cannabis activists are working to put full marijuana law repeal before Massachusetts voters during the next presidential election, in 2016.
"We won't have to have it on the ballot again after we've finally repealed the prohibition," said activist William Downing, treasuer of ballot committee Bay State Repeal, reports Andy Metzger at MassLive.com.
Repeal, unlike legalization, doesn't create more laws around cannabis -- it repeals all those already on the books.
Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to restrict marijuana, according to Downing, prohibiting doctors from prescribing cannabis in 1913, well before federal marijuana laws were passed in 1937. Downing, an activist since 1989, said he sees parallels between the marijuana movement and the people who repealed alcohol prohibition.
Bay State Repeal wants to put non-binding "public policy" questions about getting rid of the marijuana laws before voters in 2014, before writing the binding language for the 2016 ballot as an initiative petition.
"A lot more people vote generally when there's a presidential election and we do better when a lot more people vote because this is a populist issue," Downing said.
Predictably, "family" and "anti-drug" groups oppose the measure.