Marijuana, suicide among ballot questions

Mission Hill residents will soon have an opportunity to help decide whether to legalize medical marijuana and whether to allow terminally ill patients to commit suicide. The issues have been placed as questions on the state ballot for the Nov. 6 election.

Supporters of the medical marijuana measure had to gather 79,000 signatures to get the question placed on the ballot.

Medical marijuana has been a controversial topic for local state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez of the 15th Suffolk District. Every year, some type of medical marijuana legalization bill comes before the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health, which Sánchez chairs. He has sent those bills to “study,” effectively killing them. His annual killing of the proposal has angered some local and statewide marijuana activists.

Another ballot question would allow terminally ill patients who have been given six months or less to live the ability to obtain lethal drugs to commit suicide.

A third question concerns automobile manufacturers being required to provide diagnostics to consumers and repair shops. But legislation recently was passed and then signed by Gov. Deval Patrick that does requires automobile manufacturers to do just that. The question, though, will remain on the ballot.

A non-binding ballot question that will be on the Mission Hill ballot asks if the state representative from the district should vote in favor of a resolution that calls for Congress to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

The Citizens United ruling was a landmark 2010 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent political donations by corporations and unions.

Another non-binding referendum on the ballot, which was backed by the Jamaica Plain-based Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, urges the U.S. Congress to tax the rich, prevent budget cuts, end the Afghanistan war and invest in jobs.

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