Pubdate: Tue, 09 Feb 2010
Source: Salem News (MA)
Copyright: 2010 Eagle Tribune Publishing Company
Author: Steven S.  Epstein


To the editor:

Since Jan. 20, letter writers and pundits have written analyzing why 
Scott Brown, a Republican, won the Senate seat in Massachusetts. I 
went with my conscience and voted for independent Joe Kennedy, the 
true peace-and-prosperity candidate. Nonetheless, I offer my thoughts 
on why a Republican won in this state where 37 percent of the voters 
are registered Democrats, 13 percent Republicans, and the rest 
independents. The blame goes to Mike Capuano, the congressman from 
Somerville and a co-sponsor of a federal marijuana decriminalization 
bill, who lost to "Reefer Mad" Martha Coakley in the Democratic primary.

Coakley must have known of his sponsorship of federal marijuana law 
reform. She led the opposition to Question 2 in 2008. Her side lost 
in a landslide. In this latest election cycle, Coakley did the safe 
and prudent thing by not raising the "marijuana question." Capuano 
miscalculated by not challenging her on it.

Had he won the primary, Capuano could have used the same club to 
dispel perceptions of Scott Brown as a populist by pointing out that 
he, too, opposed Question 2 and filed legislation to gut it, though 
in his election to the state Senate in 2008, almost 8,700 more people 
in his district voted for Question 2 than voted for him.

I believe Capuano didn't raise the marijuana question because he and 
his advisers didn't think of it as a wedge issue. Years of public 
silence on the marijuana question deafened him to the voice of the 
voters expressed in the privacy of the voting booth on Question 2.

As we enter the 2010 election cycle politicians should keep his 
mistake in mind.

Steven S. Epstein, Esq.


(Editor's note: Steven Epstein is founder of the Massachusetts 
Cannabis Reform Coalition. Question 2, which decriminalized 
possession of small amounts of marijuana, was approved by a large 
majority statewide in 2008.)
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake