Massachusetts Voters OK Decriminalization of Marijuana -David Abel / Globe Staff Boston Globe November 2008 Massachusetts voters today approved a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making getting caught with less than an ounce of pot punishable by a civil fine of $100. The change in the law means someone found carrying as many as dozens of marijuana cigarettes will no longer be reported to the state’s criminal history board. “The people were ahead of the politicians on this issue; they recognize and want a more sensible approach to our marijuana policy,” said Whitney Taylor, chairwoman of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which campaigned for the ballot initiative. “They want to focus our limited law enforcement resources on serious and violent crimes. They recognize under the new law that the punishment will fit the offense.” The proposition will become law 30 days after it’s reported to the Governor’s Council, which usually meets in late November or early December. But the Legislature could amend or repeal the new law, as they've done with some prior laws passed by the voters, said Emily LaGrassa, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Martha Coakley. The Associated Press called the outcome at about 9:20 p.m. The proposition will require those younger than age 18 to complete a drug awareness program and community service. The fine would increase to as much as $1,000 for those who fail to complete the program. Proponents of the initiative, who spent about $1 million promoting it, argued the change in the law would maintain the state's existing penalties for growing, trafficking, or driving under the influence of marijuana, while ensuring that those caught with less than an ounce of pot would avoid the taint of a criminal record. They also argued it would save the state millions of law enforcement dollars and match similar marijuana possession laws in 12 states, all of which have adopted some form of decriminalization. The opponents, who included the governor, attorney general, and district attorneys around the state, argued that decriminalizing marijuana possession would promote drug use and benefit drug dealers at a time when they say marijuana has become more potent. They warned it would increase violence on the streets and safety hazards in the workplace, and cause the number of car crashes to rise as more youths drive under the influence. The opponents said that most of those charged with marijuana possession are arrested for other reasons, such as driving under the influence or possessing a more potent drug like crack cocaine. They also said most people arrested for marijuana possession have their records cleared within six months.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
More Marijuana Decriminalisation
To the dismay of some, another state in the US has decriminalised marijuana. Massachusetts voted 2 to 1 in favour of marijuana decriminalisation and this is a first for this law to be passed by voter initiative. The governor, attorney general, and district attorneys around the state were all opposed to it but it seems that reefer madness is on it’s last legs. You can only lie to the public for so long before the reality factor takes over. It only took 70 years. Massachusetts is now the 13th state in the US to have such laws. I feel sad for the dismayed group who opposed this law because they have lost another battle to common sense and rational policies, even though they tried their damnedest to deceive the public. We should all display some humanity here and spare a thought for the bastards who wanted first time offenders and non violent crimes treated with jail and a life long criminal record. OK, thought spared ... so congratulations to Massachusetts for a pragmatic and sensible drug policy. Well done. What about decriminalisation in Australia? Why is there a push to rescind decriminalisation laws in WA and SA when clearly it is an on going trend to do the opposite worldwide? Will it take another 70 years for Australia? Ah, politicians...