Charlie Baker on Drugs
Led the nation in responding to warning signs for vaping
We led the nation in responding to the growing body of evidence concerning this relatively new activity. As the warning signs of sudden illness, injury, and death here in Massachusetts and across the country became clear, we acted.
Together we moved quickly to protect our teens and adults. And today we have the most comprehensive legal framework in the country to oversee and regulate this untested, and potentially dangerous, activity.
Source: 2020 Massachusetts State of the State address
, Jan 21, 2020
Four pillars: prevention, education, treatment and recovery
On opioid addiction we've made great progress. But we didn't get into this crisis overnight and we won't get out of it overnight either. This Legislature enacted two major bills that build on our four pillars of reform: prevention, education,
treatment and recovery.
Today, we're one of a handful of states that can say that overdose deaths have dropped since 2017. There are interventions and policy changes that have worked and others that show promise.
We also added initiatives like credentialed recovery coaches that will be coming online throughout 2019 and beyond.
Dealing with opioid addiction is enormously difficult. Relapse is an inevitable part of the story.
Helping people avoid becoming addicted in the first place remains a challenge. And defusing the presence of fentanyl, which is now present in 90% of all drug overdose deaths, is an enormous challenge.
Source: 2019 Massachusetts governor inaugural (State of the State)
, Jan 3, 2019
Reduce opioid prescribing and drive Fentanyl off our streets
We began in the midst of an opioid crisis in which deaths, overdoses and prescriptions had been growing by double digits for more than a decade.
It was the worst case of negative momentum I'd ever seen. Today, with your help and support, we've reduced opioid prescribing by 29%. And overdose deaths have dropped for the first time in over a decade by 10%.
In addition, we have to deal with Fentanyl. Fentanyl was present in less than 30% of overdose deaths in 2014 but was present in more than 80% of overdose deaths in 2017. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are working this issue hard.
But we have more to do to drive this deadly drug off our streets.
A bipartisan fentanyl bill that makes it easier to arrest and convict dealers and traffickers is in your hands. I ask you to enact it as soon as possible.
Source: 2018 State of the State speech to Massachusetts legislature
, Jan 23, 2018
Opposed legalizing marijuana, but implemented it once passed
MPP.org legislative summary: Maine Gov. Paul LePage vetoed legislation that would have implemented a regulated marijuana market that Maine voters called for when they approved Question 1 in 2016. The bill would have created rules for
cultivation, processing, and retail establishments, as well as set tax rates for adult-use marijuana and delay marijuana social consumption lounges until summer 2019.
Statement from campaign manager for the 2016 Yes on 1 campaign:
"In 2014, the governor said he would implement a legalization law if approved by voters, but he has failed to uphold that commitment. In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker campaigned against the marijuana legalization initiative last year.
However, he respected the outcome and moved forward with implementation of the law. Seven other states have passed legalization initiatives over the past five years, and none have seen this type of obstructionism from their governors."
Source: MPP.org on Maine legislative document S-345/LD1650
, Oct 23, 2017
Legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts by 2020
Gov. Charlie Baker today signed the marijuana compromise bill sent to him last week by the Legislature, setting the stage for creation of the regulatory structure to oversee legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts.
This legislative outcome means that
by January 2020, Massachusetts will be the only state in the country where all bans on adult-use marijuana businesses will require approval by local voters.
The compromise bill's most significant changes relate to local control and taxes.
The legislation adjusts the local control policy, allowing local government officials in towns that voted "no" on the 2016 ballot initiative to ban marijuana businesses until December 2019. For towns that voted "yes" in 2016, any bans must be placed on
a local ballot for voters to approve. The maximum sales tax rate (which depends on whether towns adopt optional local taxes) will increase from 12% to 20%. Under the bill, the state tax will be 17% and the local option will be 3%.
Source: MPP.org on 2018 Massachusetts Gubernatorial race
, Jul 28, 2017
Don't legalize marijuana: it's unsafe & lowers IQ in kids
This November, voters in Massachusetts will be asked whether to legalize marijuana. Our state has already decriminalized the drug for personal use, and we've made it legally available for medical use. The question before us now is whether marijuana
should be fully legal and widely available for commercial sale. We think the answer is "no."
Where marijuana is legal, young people are more likely to use it: while use among minors has declined nationwide in recent years, states like
Colorado have seen an increase. Kids in states that have legalized marijuana have easier access to the drug. And many believe that, since the drug is legal for adults, it must be safe to use.
What the evidence shows us, though, is that marijuana is not
safe. Regular use that starts in adolescence has been shown to impair brain development, and even lower IQ. And increasingly, medical science is also showing a frightening correlation between regular marijuana use and severe mental health issues.
Source: Boston Globe, op-ed by Charlie Baker & Maura Healey
, Mar 4, 2016
Vigorously oppose recreational marijuana but medical pot ok
Governor-elect Charlie Baker pledged to "vigorously oppose" the legalization of recreational marijuana, even as he plans to move forward with the implementation of medical marijuana.
Supporters of legalized marijuana have already started laying the
foundation for a 2016 ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. Similar ballot questions passed in Colorado and Washington in 2012.
Baker, asked about the issue in an interview with
The Republican/MassLive.com in Boston on Monday, said, "I'm going to oppose that and I'm going to oppose that vigorously, with a lot of help from a lot of other people in the addiction community."
Baker, a Republican, said many people dealing
with addiction believe marijuana use is a "significant first step" toward addiction to other drugs. "There's a ton of research out there at this point that says, especially for young people, it's just plain bad," Baker said.
Source: Springfield Republican on 2014 Massachusetts Governor race
, Nov 12, 2014
Get dispensaries open for medical marijuana
[On medical marijuana], Baker declined to comment on his next steps regarding the licensing process or the provisional licenses granted by the administration of outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick. Baker said he needs to learn more about where the process sits
today and about the pending legal challenges. He reiterated comments he made on the campaign trail that he is disappointed the administration did not consult with experts in pain and cancer treatment.
Baker indicated that he will move forward with
trying to get the dispensaries open. "I think waiting is a bad idea. There are clearly people who are looking for Massachusetts to get its act together and move forward on this," Baker said.
Baker also stressed his commitment to addressing opiate
addiction--which has become a big issue over the last year after a spate of overdose deaths in Massachusetts. The state legislature passed a comprehensive bill aimed at addressing drug addiction by requiring insurers to cover substance abuse treatment.
Source: Springfield Republican on 2014 Massachusetts Governor race
, Nov 12, 2014
Alternative incarceration & treat non-violent offenders
Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker is unveiling what he's calling a comprehensive approach to tackling the drug addiction crisis in Massachusetts. Baker said he would require hospitals and first responders to report overdoses directly to the
Department of Public Health and mandate doctors consult the state's Prescription Monitoring Program before writing or renewing a prescription on an annual basis. Baker said the state should work with schools to develop age-appropriate programs to help
children understand the physical, social and economic consequences of addiction. He said the state should also ensure there are suitable in-patient facilities for teenagers and young adults fighting addiction.
Baker said he would also push for alternatives to incarceration, including treatment for non-violent offenders. Baker planned to announce the proposal Thursday in the city's South Boston neighborhood. (Associated Press, 7/31/2014)
Source: Mass IEPAC: Research Profile on Charlie Baker, p.213
, Sep 1, 2014
Repeal mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses
Candidates for major offices this year in Massachusetts are backing the repeal or reform of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, according to a report released by Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Republican candidate for governor
Charlie Baker supported repeal of such laws. "No candidate was in favor of longer mandatory minimum sentences or additional mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses," the group wrote in its report, released just over a week before the
Sept. 9 primary elections. Legislative leaders vowed in 2012 to revisit criminal sentencing reform proposals in the 2013-2014 session, but never got behind legislation to fulfill that promise. Attorney general candidate Warren Tolman referred
the group to his "Smart on Crime" plan and wrote, "I not only support repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, I will lead the fight to repeal them!" (State House News Service, 9/2/2014)
Source: Mass IEPAC: Research Profile on Charlie Baker, p.215
, Sep 1, 2014
I've smoked pot many times, but legalizing is a bad idea
Q: Would you legalize pot?
A: I'm actually against legalizing pot.
Q: Have you smoked?
A: I have, many many years ago.
Q: Many times?
A: Haha, yes, so many times I can't remember. I've talked to a lot of law enforcement and in the health care
community and they all say the same thing which is they don't think it is a good idea. It is a more dangerous drug than people realize, and I take advice from people who know more than me. [So] I'm against this. (WAAF-FM, 2/21/2014)
Source: Mass IEPAC: Research Profile on Charlie Baker, p.214
, Sep 1, 2014
Rated F by NORML, indicating a "hard-on-drugs" stance.
Baker scores F by the NORML on drug reform
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:
About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):
- C-/D/F: "hard-on-drugs" stance (approx. 243 members)
- C: mixed record on drug reform (approx. 45 members)
- A/B: pro-drug-reform stance (approx. 293 members)
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.
NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.
NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession
& responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."
NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."
NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.
NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.
Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.
Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016
Page last updated: Mar 15, 2020