Charlie Baker on Drugs


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: MassLive.com on 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial debate , 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: MassLive.com on 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial debate , 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

Other governors on Drugs: Charlie Baker on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Bill Weld
Dan Wolf
Deval Patrick
Don Berwick
Karyn Polito
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Brian Herr
Bruce Skarin
Ed Markey
Elizabeth Warren
Gabriel Gomez
John Kerry
Martha Coakley
Mo Cowan

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
AZ: Ducey(R) vs.DuVal(D) vs.Mealer(AE) vs.Gilbert(L) vs.Riggs(R)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Kashkari(R)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Beauprez(R) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R) vs.Walker(R,Lt.Gov.)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D) vs.Snitker(L,Lt.Gov.)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D) vs.Hunt(L)
HI: Ige(D) vs.Aiona(R) vs.Abercrombie(D)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hatch(D) vs.Hoefling(R)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Baker(R) &Polito(R,Lt.Gov.) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.King(D)
NY: Cuomo(D) &Hochul(D,Lt.Gov.) vs.Astorino(R) vs.Hawkins(G) vs.Teachout(D)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Dorman(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Wolf(D) vs.Schwartz(D,lost primary) vs.Critz(D,Lt.Gov.,lost primary)
Newly-elected 2014:
AK-I: Bill Walker
AR-R: Asa Hutchinson
AZ-R: Doug Ducey
IL-R: Bruce Rauner
MA-R: Charlie Baker
MD-R: Larry Hogan
NE-R: Pete Ricketts
PA-D: Tom Wolf
RI-D: Gina Raimondo
TX-R: Greg Abbott

Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
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Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry

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Page last updated: Nov 26, 2014