Peter Lewis Bankrolls Question 3 in Massachusetts


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Peter Lewis is once again giving money to his pet project, expanding the use of marijuana, but this time it’s tagged as medicine.  He funded a petition drive to put medical marijuana on ballot in Massachusetts and has become the major donor of the ongoing effort to get it passed in November.  Ironically, Lewis lists Ohio as his home state, and is retired as CEO of Progressive Insurance, an automobile insurer.

Lewis gave $1,022,000—95 percent—of the money received by supporters of Question 3 between August 2011 and September 20, 2012.  No on Question 3, on the other hand, had only raised $1,800 dollars as of September 20, 2012 and no more than $600 from a single donor.

Despite the “David vs Goliath” situation in terms of money, the opposition to Question 3 has an infinite amount of knowledge to share on their website.  They have received “in-kind” donations and lots of volunteer time from people dedicated to preventing their state from experiencing problems similar to those caused by medical marijuana dispensaries in California and Colorado.  A Boston Globe editorial recently wrote against Question 3.

The 24,000-member Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS)  opposes Question 3.  The contents of marijuana smoke are more poisonous than tobacco smoke, the MMS notes, and its use has been associated with long-term impairment of mental capacity.  The initiative would allow up to 35 marijuana dispensaries in the state without guarantees to limit the age and conditions of those allowed to use marijuanafor their treatment, doctors have explained.  MMS president Dr. Richard Aghababian, said, “We encourage our physician members to practice evidence-based medicine.’’

If the medical community does not see the value in marijuana, why should the public accept what the pot industry is telling them?

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said he will most likely vote against Question 3. Senator Scott Brown said he opposes it.  Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren would be wise to do the same, since Massachusetts voters are smart enough to read between the lines of the marijuana lobby’s agenda.   Warren has noted that her father died of cancer and she sympathizes with the pain issue, an assertion which has led some in marijuana community to believe she endorses it.  The Committee for Compassionate Medicine, an alliance of advocates for Question 3, covers itself in a compassion, yet Patrick and Brown have also spoke of compassion for those in pain while opposing Massachusett’s Question 3.

Other opponents include health care advocates, addiction counselors, public health concerns, law enforcement, addiction-prevention professionals and concerned teachers and parents.  The No on Question 3 group  is spreading its message with knowledgeable spokespeople like Kevin Sabet,  President of the Policy Solutions Lab  in Cambridge and a professor of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida.  Heidi Heilman, President of Massachusetts Prevention Alliance is another vocal opponent

Peter Lewis has been the largest donor for Initiative-502, a full marijuana legalization effort on the ballot next month in Washington state, having given about 1.5 million dollars.  However, he no longer donates to the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington.

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