Current Advocacy

Promote Prevent Commission

On April 5, 2018, the Special Legislative Commission on Behavioral Health Promotion and Upstream Prevention in Massachusetts (Promote Prevent Commission), under the leadership of Chair Rep. Jim Cantwell, released its final report, Promote Prevent: A plan to promote mental, emotional, and behavioral health and to prevent behavioral health issues in our Commonwealth.

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Contact MA legislators today
to secure prevention funding from marijuana tax revenue

CONTACT MASSACHUSETTS STATE LEGISLATORS NOW to direct a minimum of $50 million in marijuana tax revenue to substance abuse prevention and early intervention, including a specific allocation for school-based prevention programs.

Legislators may be taking action on this matter as soon as Thursday, June 29, so the time for us to act is now!

The Legislature’s Conference Committee is now debating the House and Senate versions of the marijuana legislation. The Senate version of the bill, unlike the House version, does NOT currently include any specific allocation of funds for prevention or early intervention.

The Conference Committee is discussing both versions to reconcile any differences between the Senate and House bills and to make further adjustments to the legislation. The House prevention funding could be stripped during this process. Our senators need to hear from us!

Contacting Conference Committee Members now is an easy way to have an impact in promoting social and emotional learning in Massachusetts schools:

The Hon. Patricia Jehlen,, 617-722-1578
The Hon. Ronald Mariano,, 617-722-2300
The Hon. William Brownsberger,,
The Hon. Mark J. Cusak,, 617-722-2637
The Hon. Richard Ross,, 617-722-1555
The Hon. Hannah Kane,, 617-722-2430


Dear Senator __________,

Thank you for the work that you and your colleagues on the Conference Committee are doing to finalize the recreational marijuana legislation.

As you consider the final version of this important bill, I urge you to include language that directs a minimum of $50,000,000 of marijuana tax revenue to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and to further direct that $5,000,000 of that funding be earmarked for schools.

Community-based prevention programs are successful in preventing substance abuse and improving social-emotional health and academic achievement. Funding focused on prevention instead of costly downstream programs like acute treatment care and criminal justice systems will be far more effective in reducing the societal costs from the marijuana industry and intensify an evidence-based fight against substance abuse.

Thank you for your consideration.



What’s the difference between the current House and Senate bills?

The House’s marijuana legislation has dedicated $50 million of future marijuana sales to substance abuse prevention and treatment. Of that amount, a minimum of $5 million is dedicated to school-based programs.

The Senate version does not have an allocation for prevention and treatment. Community-based prevention programs are successful in preventing substance abuse and improving social-emotional health and academic achievement. Nonetheless, funding is inadequate. Generally, less than 3% of total dollars spent on substance abuse are spent on prevention. Instead, funding is focused on costly downstream programs like acute treatment care and criminal justice systems.

What will the Conference Committee do?

The House and Senate versions are currently in Conference Committee for debate. It is crucial that the final version of this bill include an allocation of a minimum of $50 million from the marijuana sales tax revenue to prevention and abuse treatment, specifically in our schools.

Here’s what you can do

Call or email the Conference Committee members now and urge them to direct marijuana tax revenue toward critical substance abuse prevention and early intervention, specifically in our schools.

Thank you for everything that many of you have done throughout this budget season to promote social emotional learning for all students and educators. We are poised for very successful outcomes if we can just push this over the top!

Join the SEL4MA Policy & Advocacy Committee

If you would like to become a member of SEL4MA’s Policy & Advocacy Committee to receive policy updates and join the effort to promote effective SEL statewide, please email Committee Chair Ellen Gibson at


Social-Emotional Learning Alliance named to
“Special Commission on Behavioral Health Promotion and Upstream Prevention”

Created by the Massachusetts Legislature and part of the State Budget, the Special Commission shall investigate evidence-based practices, programs and systems to prevent behavioral health disorders and promote behavioral health across the commonwealth.

Specifically, the Commission supports “primary and secondary-level programs that are community, family or school-based, including whole school approaches, that reduce risk factors and increase protective factors for behavioral health disorders and foster social and emotional health.”

The Commission has 24 members including “a representative from the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts”.

We are proud to have Jim Vetter, the chair of our Steering  Committee, as our designated member.

The full text is here.

 The SEL Alliance is also advocating within the business community, DESE, Boston Public Schools and teacher education while we continue to educate through regional events to better inform our members.