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Decriminalize and Tax Pot

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In his button-down, white hemp shirt and brown hemp trousers, Martin Long stood before thousands on the Boston Common on Sunday and urged the crown to press lawmakers to legalize cannabis. "We now permit marijuana for medical use. The day is approaching when complete legalization is on the ballot in Massachusetts."

Long is a candidate in the Democratic primary for the House of Representatives, Fifth Congressional District. He appears to be the only one of the seven candidates who supports the legalization of cannabis.

"It's frightening that so many people--especially black men and teenagers--have been jailed for possessing pot," Long said. "Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol. When was the last time you witnessed the equivalent of a barroom brawl with someone who is stoned? Never."

Long chided politicians who lead from behind. The legalization of marijuana is something most politicians are afraid of, he said. "Though they know in their gut that it's the right thing to do, they are scared of offending constituents. They may have ambitions to run for higher office --for governor or the U.S. Senate--and are afraid that support for pot will hurt their chances. Their constituents are probably far ahead of them on this issue."

Long has made it a point in his campaign to run on ideas. The legalization and taxation of marijuana, he says, is an idea whose time has come. "We should treat pot as we treat tobacco.
Decriminalize it. Regulate it. Tax it."

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