Voters and Experts Convene in Watertown to Deliberate Marijuana Legalization

Atrium School – A group of 20 voters and several experts on marijuana policy deliberated for four days about the facts and questions surrounding an issue that Massachusetts residents will need to vote on in November – the legalization of Marijuana. Watertown State Representative Jonathan Hecht organized Massachusetts’ first Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) Pilot Project to provide the Commonwealth’s voters with the most important information about Question 4. Tufts University and the organization Healthy Democracy were also involved in organizing the meeting.

During the duration of the panel, the group of 20 voters who have been randomly selected from all around Massachusetts asked questions to independent experts and representatives from organizations who are both in favor of Question 4 and against it. At the conclusion of the four-day deliberations, these 20 voters created a Citizens’ Statement containing all the most relevant facts about what Question 4 would mean for Massachusetts as well as arguments for and against the legislation.

This Citizens’ Statement can be found here:

Photo by Dan Hogan

The 20-member panel was selected after receiving replies from 10,000 mailers that were randomly sent out to registered voters in Massachusetts. Using an objective and scientific method, 20 people who accurately represent the men and women of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, come from urban areas and small towns, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, and varying educational backgrounds were selected.

“I’m grateful to all the participants and facilitators who contributed to making these deliberations so successful,” said State Representative Jonathan Hecht, local sponsor of the CIR pilot project. “It’s been especially exciting to see the citizen panelists’ enthusiasm for this voter-centered process. We look forward to seeing whether the voters at large find their fellow citizens’ statement useful in making up their own minds on Question 4.”

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Produced by Dan Hogan, News Producer

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