Marijuana Forum Video

Digging Deeper: the Public Health and Criminal Justice Implications of Marijuana Legalization

Thank you to everyone who attended our September 16, 2016 Forum on the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts. There was a great deal of interest from forum attendees to see some of the data our panelists and attendees referred to during the forum. You can find links to any submitted data or documents below. If you were at the forum and have information you would like to share, please email Melanie O’Malley at:

In November 2016, Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to vote on a ballot initiative that could legalize the recreational use of marijuana and make it available on a commercial basis through regulated retail outlets.

As the state’s leading voice for public health, MPHA hosted a panel discussion in collaboration with the MetroWest Health Foundation with experts who hold vastly different positions on the public health and criminal justice implications of the ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana (Question 4). 

MPHA and MetroWest Health Foundation Marijuana Forum_ Sept 16Details

Date: September 16th
Registration and light breakfast: 
Panel Discussion: 9:00 – 10:30

Location: Blumer Room, Framingham Town Hall
150 Concord Street, Framingham, MA

Opening Speaker

Martin D. Cohen, President/CEO, MetroWest Health FoundationMDC130108-8446
Martin Cohen is the president/CEO of the MetroWest
Health Foundation, a community philanthropy serving the health care needs of 25 communities in the MetroWest area of Massachusetts.  Prior to joining the foundation, Mr. Cohen served as the executive director and senior consultant of the Technical Assistance Collaborative, a health and human services consulting firm. In addition to his duties with the foundation, he currently serves as a member of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. 


Bebinger head shotMartha Bebinger, reporter, WBUR
Martha Bebinger covers health and other topics at WBUR, the NPR affiliate in Boston.  She has won dozens of regional and national awards in 18 years as a reporter, including the Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard University.  Bebinger has a BA in Art and Semiotics from Brown University and an MA in English from Boston University. She is the mother of three adventurous teenagers.


Headshot Jim Bhorgesani.jpgJim Borghesani, Communications Director, Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol
Jim Borghesani has held top communication positions in state government and the private sector and has worked on hundreds of community and media campaigns at the local, state and national level. In 1994 he became director of communications for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in Boston, the largest and busiest prosecutor’s office in New England.  He became director of communications for the Massachusetts Governor’s Office immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jim coordinated all media initiatives for the governor’s office and for all the state’s executive agencies. 
Headshot Sheriff Tompkins Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Suffolk County, President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
As the Sheriff of Suffolk County, Steve Tompkins manages all operations at the Suffolk County House of Correction, the Nashua Street Jail, and the Civil Process Division. Sheriff Tompkins was recently elected to a two-year term as President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association, a group comprised of all 14 Massachusetts Sheriffs that works to secure unity of action by addressing the numerous issues that have a direct relational impact on the entire criminal justice system. He is an engaged community leader and respected advocate, and serves in various organizations such as Advisory Board of Roca, Inc., My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and the Boston Private Industry Council.
Dr.Miriam Schizer, Staff Physician at Boston Children’s Hospital Headshot Miriam Schizer
Dr. Schizer has been a staff physician in the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), and outpatient program in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, since 2009. She is also an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and is board certified in General Pediatrics and Addiction Medicine. Dr.Schizer is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Medical School, and received her Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed a pediatrics residency at Boston Children’s Hospital, and received graduate training in pulmonary medicine also at BCH.

Headshot Horace Small croppedHorace Small, Founder and Executive Director, Union of Minority Neighborhoods
Horace Small has been working professionally for non-profit organizations, government, political campaigns and unions since 1974. He served as President of the National Federation of Black Organizers and Activists for a two-year term and founded the Philadelphia Community School, which trained hundreds of activists in the skills of organizing and citizen empowerment. Horace has gained a reputation as one of the savviest organizers in the country.

Rep. Jason LewisSenator Jason Lewis, (D) 5th Middlesex District, Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana
State Senator Jason Lewis (5th Middlesex ) was elected to the State Senate in 2014 following five years the Massachusetts House of Representatives. His duties include serving as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health and Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana. He has led efforts in the state legislature to contain healthcare costs and reduce rates of preventable chronic diseases by focusing on prevention and wellness. He has championed reforms to the state’s education financing system and has been a strong advocate for increasing economic opportunity and fairness for poor and working families

Event is free but prior registration is required. Click here to register

If you have any questions, please email Melanie O’Malley at:

Location of the Town Hall

For directions of the Framingham Town Hall, please visit its website: 

Parking Information

Limited parking is available at Framingham Town Hall. We recommend that you park at the Boston Church of Christ parking lot which is adjacent to town hall parking. The Boston Church of Christ is located at 214 Concord St, Framingham, MA 01702. Cross Sanger street to enter the Town Hall from the rear.


Recent news articles and other resources regarding the November Massachusetts Ballot Initiative:

September 1: On marijuana question, some pros, some cons (Boston Globe)

August 1: Holyoke’s Alex Morse becomes 1st Massachusetts mayor to support marijuana legalization ballot question

July 8: Baker, Walsh and DeLeo Combine to Opposed Marijuana Legalization 

July 6: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court allows proposed marijuana legalization ballot question to move ahead

July 4: If legalized, should Massachusetts residents be allowed to grow marijuana at home?

June 24: ACLU Cites Enforcement Disparities in Endorsing Legalization Marijuana

June 21: Colorado Survey Stirs Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Debate

June 7: Sheriff Concerned by Reports on Marijuana’s Impacts in Colorado 

June 2: My Take on the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Representative Jay Kaufman

May 19: The Marijuana Industry’s War on the Poor

March 18: Special Senate Committee Report on Marijuana