Non-binding Ballot Question to Legalize Marijuana Gets Strong Support on Cape

FILE PHOTO Sheriff James Cummings votes at the Gus Canty Community Center in Falmouth.

FILE PHOTO
Sheriff James Cummings votes at the Gus Canty Community Center in Falmouth.

BARNSTABLE – A non-binding question concerning legalizing marijuana that was on ballots in town in the Lower and Outer Cape passed overwhelmingly.

The non-binding question to legalize marijuana appeared on ballots in Barnstable’s Fourth District, which is represented by State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). Voters in the towns of Harwich, Chatham, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown passed the measure by a vote of 14,052 in favor and 5,204 opposed.

Nationally, in the November 4, 2014 election, the states of Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted to legalize marijuana for personal use by adults. Florida voters shot down a medical marijuana law by getting only 58 percent of electorate support. Florida’s constitution requires a 60 percent vote for passage of constitutional amendments.

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The non-binding question that was before some Cape voters also appeared on the ballot in other towns across the commonwealth. Organizers of the movement to legalize marijuana say they plan to place a binding question on the ballots of Massachusetts voters in 2016.

Jack Cole worked as a New Jersey state trooper. Upon retirement, he has been advocating for the legalization of illicit drugs, like marijuana.

Jack Cole worked as a New Jersey state trooper. Upon retirement, he has been advocating for the legalization of illicit drugs, like marijuana.

On the question to legalize marijuana, Cape Cod.com interviewed law enforcement officers in favor of and opposed to the question prior to the election.

Speaking in favor of the question is Jack Cole, co-founder and Board chair of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

Cole is a retired detective lieutenant—26 years with the New Jersey State Police and 14 in their Narcotic Bureau, mostly undercover. Of why he has come out in favor of legalizing illegal drugs, he said he “bore witness to the abject failure of the U.S. war on drugs and to the horrors produced by this self-perpetuating, constantly expanding policy disaster.”

According to information provided by Cole, on November 6, 2012, voter initiatives changed drug policy across the U.S. and throughout the world. The states of Colorado and Washington, by 55% favorable votes, became the first states to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use.

Cole states, “The work LEAP did to achieve these are groundbreaking policy changes have signaled the beginning of the end of prohibition in this country.”

To listen to Jack Cole speak about the issue of legalizing marijuana, click on the interview below.

Sheriff James Cummings

Sheriff James Cummings

Speaking against the issue of legalizing marijuana is Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings.

Cummings has worked in law enforcement on Cape Cod for more than 30 years.

Cummings says that he believes marijuana is a gateway drug and that legalizing it will lead to more impaired drivers and other societal ills that are already manifest because of the abuse of alcohol and drugs of all types.

To listen to Sheriff James Cummings speak against legalizing marijuana, click on the interview below.