Archive for December, 2008

Massachusetts Officials Try to Circumvent New Law

In just two days, Question 2, which decriminalizes possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts, takes effect. Under the new law, the violation is a ticketable, but not arrestable, offense. Police may fine offenders $100 and confiscate the marijuana, but offenders face no criminal record and no jail time.

Already, officials are trying to circumvent the new law, and the latest proposal notes that the new law allows for additional town bylaws. State officials are encouraging towns to pass bylaws to outlaw smoking marijuana in public. The problem? They are considering making this a misdemeanor offense, effectively recriminalizing the substance that 65% of the state – and every town except three – voted to decriminalize. 
NECN has decent coverage of the story.
What they fail to mention is that, depending on how the new bylaws are worded, police may be able to arrest people for possession in public places, arguing that the offender is possessing the drug in public, even if he or she is not smoking.
If your city or town is considering passing such a law, write to your local officials urging them not to recriminalize posession. In your letter, be sure to mention:
1. The percent of voters in your town that supported Question 2.
2. That public smoking, if even punishable, should not be considered a criminal offense.
3. That the fines for criminal offenses are paid to the state, whereas the fines for a civil offense are paid to the town. (This means that, if towns pass bylaws recriminalizing possession, they are robbing themselves of the revenue from fines).
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December 31, 2008 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Marijuana Tops Second Round of Change

Of the top ten questions in the ‘Additional issues’ section, five relate to marijuana, including the top three questions from the section. 

The second most popular question under ‘National Security’ begins, ‘Our current war on drugs is failing America’. 
Clearly, marijuana policy reform is an important issue to those concerned about this administration. Massachusetts and Michigan both passed ballot initiatives to reform marijuana laws in the November elections, and these intiatives received a bigger share of the vote than Obama did.
We need to be sure that the new administration understands how strongly the country feels about this issue. Keep voting at change.gov – for those of you who haven’t already, registration is fast and painless (they don’t even send a confirmation email).

December 31, 2008 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

Change.gov Open Again for Questions

Barack Obama has opened a section of his website for a second round of questions.

Last time, the top question was about marijuana policy reform, and Obama’s answer was brief and dismissive: ‘President-elect obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.’

No explanation, no evidence, and no rationale. If I had to guess why, I’d probably say because Obama knows there is no rational explanation.

Here is our chance to send a strong message: yes, we actually meant it! If you log into change.gov (and you don’t even need to verify your email, so it should take about thirty seconds to register), you will see that questions about marijuana are in the top ten under categories such as ‘National Security’ and ‘Additional Issues’. There are multiple questions about marijuana in each category, and the more we vote for these questions, the more likely we are to see change in this administration.

My personal opinion: questions about ending DEA raids are the most significant, because it is the step that Obama is most likely to take first. He can end DEA raids on patients using marijuana with a prescription, all without spending much political capital.

That said, vote for all the questions that you would like Obama to answer. Let’s make sure that the Obama administration gets the message.

December 30, 2008 at 4:47 am Leave a comment

Welcome to Legal.Now

Welcome to Legal.Now. This blog is designed for those who support the decriminalization and/or legalization of marijuana – in any form – to learn about steps we can take to make legalization a reality.

December 30, 2008 at 4:40 am Leave a comment


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