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Cardinal releases video series on Question 4

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BRAINTREE -- In a series of short videos published online by CatholicTV, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley highlights the negative consequences legalizing marijuana for recreational use would have on the state of Massachusetts and its citizens.

In series of short videos, the cardinal offers reasons why voters should vote "no" on the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, commonly referred to as Question 4, on the Nov. 8 Massachusetts ballot.

If that initiative were to pass, it would allow people to legally possess, use, and grow their own marijuana, and it would allow for the drug to be sold commercially.

To make his case against the initiative, Cardinal O'Malley points out that, "In our state, decriminalization and medical marijuana have already been approved. We're talking here about commercialization -- making this big business."

In another video, Cardinal O'Malley cites concerns that the proposed tax plan for the commercial sale of the drug won't bring the state enough money to cover the cost of the harm marijuana could inflect on the community.

Taxing the drug could also be problematic in itself, the cardinal says, because it might give people the incentive to sell the marijuana they could legally grow on a new "black market," or in a way that would be unregulated.

While individuals would not be permitted to sell the drug this way were the initiative to pass, they would be allowed to legally grow up to six plants each, with a total of 12 plants per household.

Additionally, the cardinal notes that numerous public officials and community leaders are against the initiative, including Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker, law enforcement officials, and many in medical profession.

"It's not just the Church. We're joining with many people," says Cardinal O'Malley.

He also addresses those who might not wish to vote in this election, urging them to "go out and vote for the sake of our children and our community."

Commercializing and legalizing marijuana for recreational use is "going to change the entire culture of our state if we allow this to happen," he says.

Also included in the series is a nearly 10 minute video featuring State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth), an opponent of marijuana legalization, who highlights studies and data to support the concerns over the initiative.

Terrence Donilon, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Boston, said "The videos are an attempt to reach the widest possible audience prior to the election."

"They are aimed at informing folks about the dangers of Question 4 and why opposing it is so critical to our entire state," he continued.

The videos come on the heels of an interfaith meeting at the Archdiocese of Boston's Braintree headquarters Oct. 18 that saw a group of around 40 faith leaders from around the Boston area discuss their opposition to ballot Question 4.

Earlier this month, the four Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, including Cardinal O'Malley, issued a statement that highlighted similar concerns over the ballot question and urged voters to vote against it.

The videos are available on CatholicTV's YouTube page, which can be reached at www.youtube.com/user/CatholicTV.

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