Archive for March 5, 2009

Montana Seeks to Undercut Massachusetts

…or that’s how it would seem, if one took a free-market approach to marijuana law reform.

With House Bill 541, Montana could become the next state to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Unlike Massachusetts (and other states that seeks to copy Massachusetts’s new law), however, the fine for possession in Montana would be reduced to $50. For contrast, the current fine in Massachusetts for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is $100. It seems like people might finally be starting to listen to the Shafer Commission after all!

The Montana House Judiciary Committee will be holding testimonies for this bill on Tuesday, March 10th. Check your representative and see if he or she is a member of this committee (the list of names is at the bottom, after the list of scheduled hearings).

Even if your represesentative does not sit on the committee, it is still important to contact him or her to voice your support. A sample letter is below (though if your representative sits on the committee, it would be better to adapt the letter to a script and place a call before Tuesday):

Dear Mr./Ms. _______________

Thirteen other states, including Mississippi, Ohio, Alaska, and Nevada, have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana with no increase in marijuana use. Decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana would save money in the state budget. 

I urge you to support House Bill 541, which seeks to reduce the punishment for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The current penalties are far too strict, as even the Shafer Commission concluded that criminal penalties for posession are superfluous and ineffective.

I hope that you support House BIll 541 and ensure that it becomes state law in Montana.



March 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment


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