Friday, February 01, 2008

Proposals to Decriminalize Marijuana

There is some movement in Massachusetts toward decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2007, a ballot initiative proposed by the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy collected 80,372 signatures, considerably more than the 66,593 required to submit the measure to the legislature for debate. The legislature now has until early May to act on the measure. If they fail to do so, "another 11,099 voter signatures must be gathered by June 18 for the proposal to make the November ballot," according to the Boston Herald. The initiative provides that a person in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana would be subject to "civil penalty of one hundred dollars and forfeiture of the marihuana, but not to any other form of criminal or civil punishment or disqualification."

There are also two bills pending in the legislature, S1121 and S1011, which propose fines, rather than jail time, for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

According to the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, "on Tuesday, March 4th, on or after 1 pm (Room TBA), the Judiciary Committee will be taking testimony on both the State Initiative and our Decrim Legislation."