Marijuana: Massachusetts Decrim Initiative Approved for November Ballot

Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to approve marijuana decriminalization in November. State Secretary William Galvin last week announced that a decriminalization initiative sponsored by the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy (CSMP) had successfully overcome the second signature-gathering hurdle facing initiatives in the Bay State.

Earlier this year, backers of the initiative had to turn in at least 66,000 valid signatures. CSMP easily met that challenge, and it met the challenge of gathering an additional 11,099 signatures in the second phase of the process. CSMP actually turned in 13,581 signatures in phase two. The deadline for challenging the signatures passed Wednesday.

Under current Massachusetts law, simple possession of marijuana can get you six months in jail and a $500 fine. A marijuana arrest also results in the creation of a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) report. Advocates argue that CORI reports jeopardize a person's ability to obtain jobs, housing, and college loans, among other collateral damage.

The initiative would remedy the situation by:

  • Amending the current criminal statutes so that adults possessing an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use would be charged with a civil infraction and fined.
  • Removing the threat of a CORI report for minor marijuana possession charges.
  • Maintaining current penalties for selling, growing, and trafficking marijuana, as well as the prohibition against driving under the influence of marijuana.

In addition to creating a more sensible and humane response to marijuana use and possession, passage of the measure would save taxpayers about $29.5 million a year in law enforcement resources currently consumed by low-level marijuana arrests, advocates said.

The initiative is already noteworthy for prompting Boston Herald columnist and curmudgeon Howie Carr to pen what is probably the snarkiest, and smarmiest anti-marijuana column to appear in a major American newspaper in years, Sensible Pot a Half-Baked Policy, Dudes. Howe claims "marijuana makes you stupid." What's his excuse?

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Another Stupid Law

If no one is allowed to sell marijuana or grow it then the law makes no sense. Ever try growing a plant weighing less than an ounce? If you can't grow your own and no one can legally sell it, then you've done almost nothing to address the problem. Legalize it for adults, growing, selling, possession and then you have begun to rectify the problem. As long as you prohibit growing and selling, it's still a prohibitionist policy and does nothing except for people who can get away with growing a plant and selling off everything but an ounce before being caught. Otherwise, you still must buy from someone illegally to obtain a legal amount. This is totally illogical. Everyone is still a criminal

Lets be fair

I t depends on how much you grow. I'm for legalizing growing up to a certain amount, but when its in the tons or in the pounds then I think it should be regulated.

Basically if its just people growing their own supply that should be legal. It should be legal to grow up to a couple pounds worth in my opinion but no more.

People who want to get rich off it should deal with the consequences.

I agree

This was my first thought when thinking about the implications of this law. By ignoring the issue of sales and distribution the CSMP may have shot itself in the foot. If this passes it will most likely cause an increase in sales whereby illegal trafficking and criminal activity increase as well, followed probably by police action. Should any negative press (especially those citing tangible evidence) be generated in the times following decriminalization, it could create an unfavorable atmosphere, weakening the push for total legalization. Even without the above scenario this vote could appease legalization momentum. Of course it could do the exact opposite. It may be just the first step or it may be the last. I still don't know how I will vote.

I disagree

I think this law makes sense. It's not legalization; but it's a step in the right direction. With half of the citizens of this country trying it at least once, it is senseless to put them all in jail. For one of the most conservative states in terms of drug policies this is a huge leap. Arresting someone for a few grams of cannabis is just plain crazy; and it's something that needs to stop.

re: 'another stupid law' post

Yeah, you're right it doesn't make any real sense and it doesn't do that much. But it also has symbolic value, a defeat would be a setback for the entire drug war reform movement. I really hope anyone in MA who's interested in prohibition reform will vote for this despite its limited scope.

what's crazy is...

what is crazy is propaganda and laws that promulgate that propaganda. such as what we have in the marijiana laws, and in our invesstment in enforcing them.

"IT'S JUST A FUCKING PLANT" grows wild anywhere as hemp, which God gave to us to turn into line to fish and tie-up the boat with after fishing.

If you read the counter propaganda, Mr Rockefeller in league with william Hearst decided that hemp should be replaced by an enlarging oil market, which they needed to continue their profit-making ways with stuff made from oil.
Which includes almost all plastics that we use today.

When all the b.s. came to a head, and the marijuana tax act was enabled, we took a wrong turn, made the world a meaner place, while decrying the necesity of laws "to protect us from ourselves."

PEOPLE LOVE EARTH

LEAVE EARTH ALONE WHEN YOU STOP HURTING HERBS THEY CAN BRING BACK HONEY BEE'S

Think about it

Hay at least we are heading in the right direction. If this passes maybe marijuana will become more accepted and hopefully it will be legal.

ciggs are legal why shouldn't pot be,

try a tobacco cig for the first time and i'll bet you can't walk a straight line for about 5 mins. and that is legal, i don't think pot is as addicting or as dangerous as the already legal and hugley costly tobacco

it should all be legal

it should all be legal!!! this goverment think's they know what is best for us 'THE PEOPLE" but they don't!!! weed is not the stuff they should be going after. it is 100% natural. they should be going after the coke,meth,acid(lsd) and all the deadly DRUGS. i dont consitter weed to be a drug at all. i have been smoking for about 3 and a half years now and when i have no money to buy i go out and get a job, im not out robing people for more like the coke heads out there do.

are you all retarded?

are you all retarded? Considering everything this is a big step towards addressing the problem in a more sensible manner. It doesn't matter if its legal to grow or sell, it will always be done and people will always be buying it.

So on an upside kids lives wont be ruined because of a little experimenting. As well as allow people in Mass with debilitating illnesses to carry and use pot without being frightened of being arrested. At least until its possible to set up an MMProgram, then its only the feds you have to worry about.

p.s. although last time I checked the DEA couldn't find a grow house if it was next door ;)

VOTE YES ON #2

what about your own plant?

in mass can can you have just a couple of plants just for personal use?

I was arrested

I was arrested for my friend possessing 2-3 grams and me being with her. We were in my parked car on campus not hurting anyone. I'm glad this passed, it IS a huge step in the right direction. Albeit, it is a small step, but we can't rush this.

go east coast

it's about time the east coast started to make more steps towards this. go mass. my prayers are with you. the only thing holding back our country from permanent change like this is the ignorant and stereo typical baby boomers.

don't get me wrong, i love my mother, but their generations thoughts aren't caught up with the times of 2008.

yay obama, yay mass!

now I respect mass.

this could be monumental. just like anything else, it takes breaking the ice, trials and tribulations but i can tell you that government won't be disappointed with society. smoking relaxes which would get all of those depressed folks off of the REAL harmful drugs, food industry would rack up and grow, and we would finally catch up with countries like canada, holland, and all others that recognize weed as a natural plant. more natural than cigarettes, cigars, alcohol, coffee and soda with caffeine, no doz drugs at CVS, etc.

It's a win win situation....We are in the era of change for the REAL people not these tight wad freaks of america. You know all those that cast judgement on others yet they are twice as dirty.

LIGHTEMUP

SMOKE HUGE SPLIFFS AND SMILE

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