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Legislator warns against 'terrible message' of proposed pot law


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BOSTON -- Two years after Colorado voters legalized marijuana through a ballot question, Denver today has more marijuana-related businesses than Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks combined.

"Are we ready for that? That's the question," said State Sen. Viriato "Vinny" deMacedo, a Republican from Plymouth.

DeMacedo is the Republican senator on a legislative taskforce that opposes Question 4, a statewide ballot question that asks Massachusetts voters if they want to decriminalize marijuana.

The proposed law would allow Bay State residents over 21 to possess, use and grow recreational marijuana. The law would also create a state licensing commission to regulate businesses that would sell marijuana products, including edibles such as cookies and gummy bears.

"I think it sends a terrible message to our young people in the commonwealth of Massachusetts to say, 'We're okay with this despite everything going on in our society,'" said deMacedo, who estimates that he has done more than 25 presentations around the state against Question 4.

The ballot question's supporters argue that legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts would regulate what is already a large black market, generate millions of additional tax revenue every year and create thousands of new jobs in the state.

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