Mass. Officials Announce Fall Ballot Questions

With measures failing to be taken up in the Legislature and advocates rallying support throughout the state, Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on contentious issues such as medical marijuana come November.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin's office said Wednesday that three proposals have gained enough support to be placed on this year's ballot.

Initiatives include measures to legalize medical marijuana through a regulated system of drug dispensaries and patient identification cards. Another would provide "aid in dying," which would allow adult Massachusetts residents who have been given a prognosis of six months or less to live to obtain drugs that would end their lives. It would not legalize euthanasia, meaning a third party could not perform the act; patients would have to ingest the pills themselves.

A proposal that calls for auto manufacturers that sell cars in Massachusetts to provide access to their diagnostic and repair information system through a universal software system that can be accessed by dealers and independent repairs shops will also appear on the ballot.

Galvin's office said the ballot will be arranged so that the first question will pertain to vehicle repair information, the second question to life-ending drugs and the third to medical marijuana.

Under state law, more than 68,000 certified voters must sign an initial petition, with not more than one-quarter of all the signatures coming from the same county. If the Legislature does not take up the issue, an additional 11,000-plus registrar-certified signatures are needed by July 3 to put it on the ballot.

But despite voter supporter in the signature-gathering process, opponents of the measures have launched campaigns to counter legalization efforts.

Earlier this month, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed paperwork to be able to spend money on a campaign against the auto repair bill. Dan Gage, a spokesman for the alliance, said his group is ready to fight the "fiction" coming from ballot question supporters.

Similarly, the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance filed a petition against the proposed medical marijuana ballot question in May, saying it was misleading. Although dismissed by state Attorney General Martha Coakley, the petition was brought before the state's highest court, which ordered that part of the question be rewritten. Despite the small victory, opponents said they would continue to campaign against the measure.

This program aired on July 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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