Weld backs legalizing pot sales in Bay State

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/06/08/weld-backs-legalizing-pot-sales-in-bay-state/

BOSTON – Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Bill Weld, the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee, supports a move to make retail sales of marijuana legal in the Bay State, according to a public interview he gave Tuesday night.

Weld, known for cracking down mercilessly on crime during his time as the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts in the 1980s, said he would back a November ballot question to legalize pot sales in the conversation with CommonWealth Magazine Editor Bruce Mohl. The session took place at Weld’s former ML Strategies office in downtown Boston.

His decision “represents something of a shift from what my position would have been in the past,” Weld said, according to a MassLive.com report. The ex-prosecutor’s stance puts him in accord with his Libertarian Party running mate, presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico and with his new party’s position on the issue. Weld spoke to the notion of treating illegal drug use as a public health crisis more than a criminal act.

“There’s a lot of evidence it’s a public health emergency, and people do need help,” Weld said, according to MassLive. “You would not have gotten that out of my mouth in the late ’80s.”

He added that he thinks “there’s something to the idea by decriminalizing something you take it out of the shadows, and the incentives are not there for the bad guys to do massive criminal sales.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.