DC Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Treatment Not Jail Initiative 11/8/02

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Tuesday didn't bring all bad news. Though Ohio voters rejected a similar initiative, voters in the nation's capital issued a broad mandate for drug treatment instead of prison for nonviolent drug offenders. DC's Measure 62, organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, passed by a whopping margin of 78% to 22%. The measure had been opposed editorially by both the Washington Post and the Washington Times, but otherwise saw no significant organized opposition.

With the passage of Measure 62, District residents charged with the possession of other than Schedule I drugs will be able to opt for drug treatment in place of conviction or imprisonment for illegal drug possession. All legal proceedings against covered drug possession defendants would be dismissed upon completion of drug treatment.

Schedule I drugs -- including heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and marijuana -- are widely used in the District and their users are often arrested, but campaign organizers told DRCNet they were excluded because of fears of arousing congressional action against any measure that would effectively reduce marijuana penalties.

While the DC campaign can claim a rare victory for drug reform, the election victory is only the beginning. Measure 62 supporters will have to gain funding to implement the treatment program, and that funding will have to be approved by a GOP-controlled Congress, whether it comes from local funds or federal. The measure is set to become law on October 1 next year, and Measure 62 organizers are already calling on supporters to build a broad coalition to ensure funding and proper implementation. They have won a battle in DC, but the war continues.

Visit http://www.dcmeasure62.com to keep up with Measure 62.

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Issue #262, 11/8/02 Editorial: More to This Vote Than Meets the Eye | Black Tuesday for Drug Reform | Arizona Steps Back as Decrim Initiative Loses, Anti-Reform Sentencing Initiative Wins | Legal Pot in Nevada? Not This Year | New York: Pataki Victory Swamps Dems, Golisano, Marijuana Reform Party, Libertarians | Ohio "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Runs Into Drug War Buzzsaw | No Hemp, No New Rights for Defendants in South Dakota | Wisconsin: Libertarian Thompson Gets Ten Percent | DC Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Treatment Not Jail Initiative | Massachusetts Voters Tell Reps to Support Marijuana Decrim | San Francisco Voters Ask City to Look at Growing Its Own | FAMM Victory: Amendment to Cap Federal Guideline Sentences for Low-Level Drug Offenders is Now Law | Colombian Campaign for Drug Legalization | Anti-Prohibitionists Meet Human Rights Advocates and Political Leaders at Albania Congress of Transnational Radical Party | Newsbrief: Nordic Prohibitionists Beginning Counter-Campaign Supporting UN Drug Conventions | Web Scan: Forbes on Hope Taft, Newsday on Tony Papa, New Scientist on Cannabis, Raich v. Ashcroft Lawsuit Docs | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar
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