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Boston Mayor Willing to Take Lead in Fight Against Legalized Marijuana

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a recovering alcoholic, is getting kudos from many in the addicted community for publicly opposing the move to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts.

"It leads to other drugs. It's a gateway drug and that's my concern," Walsh said.

After years of discussion, a November 2016 statewide ballot question is likely given the number of groups raising money and hiring to make it happen, like the Washington based Marijuana Policy Project.

Matt Simon is the New England Political Director. He says, "Marijuana is here to stay. Prohibition has been a failure. There's over a half million marijuana users in Massachusetts.

Proponents says it makes sense to regulate the market and have the 100s of millions of dollars go to taxpaying, law abiding businesses instead of criminals.

And they don't buy the "gateway drug" argument.

"The overwhelming majority of marijuana users do not move on to hard drugs," Simon explained.

Those pushing for legalization may have a leg up on their opponents who are not as well organized- which is why those fighting the ballot question are looking to Mayor Walsh for help.

But Walsh, while happy to be help lead, does not want to be the poster child for the movement. He said, "I think there are many people out there, many families out there that will want to be active in this discussion."

The conversation continues here at the state house where Senate President Stan Rosenberg has suggested a non-binding ballot question on legalizing marijuana.

Asked who among the politicians has smoked marijuana?

House Speaker Robert Deleo said, "I was in my 20s, I was late to the game. And only a few times."

Rosenberg said, "I went to college in the 60s..."

Governor Charlie Baker said, "I went to college in the 70s..."

Mayor Walsh, however, says he never tried it.

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