Marijuana Measures Head To Voters, Hill

Marijuana Measures Head To Voters, Hill
Posted by CN Staff on January 27, 2008 at 09:45:57 PT
By Laura Crimaldi
Source: Boston Herald 
Boston, Massachusetts -- A showdown over whether to relax penalties for having small quantities of pot is advancing to Beacon Hill on two joint fronts as the state’s top prosecutors and anti-drug activists vow a fight in the latest marijuana slugfest.The push to introduce a civil penalty system for pot possession is coming in the form of a ballot initiative almost entirely bankrolled by billionaire Democratic heavyweight George Soros and a Senate bill that has languished in the Legislature for years.
“The voters of Massachusetts are for this,” said Whitney A. Taylor, chairwoman of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which is sponsoring the ballot effort to decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of pot.Soros, a frequent contributor to marijuana legalization and decriminalization efforts nationwide, is the biggest contributor to the committee, according to records from the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The ballot campaign raised $429,000 in 2007, most of which came from a $400,000 donation that Soros made in June, records show.“We’re opposed to it in any form because it’s just an inappropriate message to be sending, particularly to young people,” said Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, who will lead an opposition effort as president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.Supporters of a civil penalty system say that criminal prosecution for minor amounts of grass wastes millions in law enforcement dollars, has minimal impact on drug use and creates a criminal record that could affect an offender’s housing, employment and borrowing opportunities for life.Civil penalty opponents assert that lessening the consequences for pot possession sends the wrong message to young people, gives an advantage to drug dealers and poses a public health risk.A conviction for marijuana possession comes with a maximum prison sentence of six months, fines up to $500 and up to a year’s loss of a driver’s license.Several studies by a Harvard professor, Jeffrey A. Miron, whose work is partly funded by marijuana decriminalization backers, show prosecutions and jailings for small-scale pot cases cost the state about $130 million a year.The ballot committee proposal would create a civil penalty system that includes a $100 fine, enrollment in a drug awareness program and parental notification for offenders under age 18. A similar bill sponsored by state Sen. Patricia D. Jehlen (D-Somerville) calls for a $250 civil fine.The ballot committee cleared its first hurdle toward getting before voters in November last month by submitting more than 81,000 voter signatures to Secretary of State William Galvin, Taylor said. They needed to submit a minimum of 66,593 signatures.Lawmakers now have until May 6 to act on the measure. If they don’t, another 11,099 voter signatures must be gathered by June 18 for the proposal to make the November ballot.“Since the ’60s, this is something that I’ve paid attention to. The approach of the laws has been ever more draconian and that just defies common sense,” said attorney Thomas R. Kiley, who drafted the ballot proposal.William Breault, chairman of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety in Worcester, said he will be writing to lawmakers and police chiefs to defeat the effort.“It’s a bad idea,” Breault said. “It affects people from blue collar neighborhoods to places like Weston. It has ramifications. I don’t think we should send out the message that it’s acceptable.”Note: Penalties for possession would be reduced.Newshawk: Sam AdamsSource: Boston Herald (MA)Author: Laura CrimaldiPublished:  Sunday, January 27, 2008Copyright: 2008 Boston Herald and Herald MediaWebsite: letterstoeditor bostonherald.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy Proposed To Decriminalize Marijuana and The Ballot Box
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 11:48:38 PT
I was really impressed with the speech that Had Enough posted. When we lost JFK something died in me and then when MLK and Bobby were killed a few years later I gave up on our government and didn't pay serious attention until now. Hope died when they died. Now maybe we can return and pick up where we left off. I do have hope now even though it is only a little hope. A little is better then none.
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on January 29, 2008 at 11:33:26 PT
Had Enough #19 
J. F. K. -- Wow! What a difference today! We work to restore such optimism and true patriotism.It occurred to me that Anne Murray's words (from post #21) "To be dealt with naturally" might actually be "To be dealt with properly." The spirit is the same. The full lyrics are not available by Anne Murray's request.
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Comment #21 posted by afterburner on January 29, 2008 at 11:17:29 PT
The Ants Go Marching Two by Two, Hurrah, Hurray!
"When will our consciences grow so tender that we act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt{
Though the feelings stay the same
Workin' out the troubles now
And lookin' for peace of mind
But everybody knows that it takes time
It takes time to move a mountain 
It takes time for love to be 
You're never really caged in
But you're never really free
It takes time for all the answers
To be dealt with naturally
And everybody knows that it takes time 
It Takes Time [excerpt] by Anne MurrayTo listen to preview: Scan for "It Takes Time" & Click song title
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 08:32:41 PT
Had Enough
Thank you. 
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Comment #19 posted by Had Enough on January 29, 2008 at 07:40:57 PT
Welcoming the New World…We would see a different America, and the world if this man hadn’t been taken out.President John F Kennedy Secret Society Speech version 2
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on January 29, 2008 at 06:43:59 PT
New World Coming
This has been the most exciting and electric time I have seen in many years and this song jumped into my mind this morning.
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Comment #17 posted by Had Enough on January 29, 2008 at 06:23:13 PT
High HopesFrank Sinatra - -
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on January 28, 2008 at 22:09:23 PT
Fight 4 Freedom
:0)I'm glad you liked it.
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Comment #15 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 28, 2008 at 21:08:08 PT:
I got a kick outta that one Hope
And the more people we bring together, the heavier the objects we will be able to move :)
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on January 28, 2008 at 21:01:26 PT
The ants
When I read that the little guys, together, carried that Frito across a parking lot... I couldn't help but think of reformers and thought you guys might get a kick out of, and appreciate what really "little guys" and cooperating can do if the "little guys" decide to do something.:0)
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Comment #13 posted by charmed quark on January 28, 2008 at 15:43:30 PT
Police don't have to worry
As long as it stays illegal to grow small amounts for personal use, it won't matter if they decrim possession. Without the ability to grow, the black market will continue to thrive, giving the police job security.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 28, 2008 at 14:29:04 PT
Thank you. That was good.
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on January 28, 2008 at 14:21:03 PT
Happy like the ants working together
"A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine" Henry David ThoreauWomen too!
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 28, 2008 at 10:47:21 PT
If an ant can so can we! What a great day it is today.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on January 28, 2008 at 10:41:02 PT
If an ant can....
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Comment #8 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 28, 2008 at 08:29:32 PT
Our Message To Politicians
Legalize cannabis use for adults, or we will support some other politician who will. Your career in politics will be over! Get the message?
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on January 27, 2008 at 22:56:50 PT:
The feds really know how to send a message.
It wasn't long before the soldiers in Viet Nam got the message: We must burn the village to save the village.The war on drugs: We must destroy the people in order to save the people from themselves.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 27, 2008 at 21:20:50 PT
They send a horrible message to children with their laws.Their message? They'll "get you"... and they'll "get you bad" if you dare mess with stuff they tell you not to. "You can't think about it even." "You don't have a choice." "We choose for you... always." They'll ruin your life and they might even kill you if you dare to consume cannabis."GET THE MESSAGE, KID! If we catch you... and WE WILL... We'll hurt you. We'll hurt you bad! We'll destroy you and humiliate and persecute you. We'll ruin you. We would rather you be raped in jail than to smoke pot."That's the message they're sending to children.Oh yes... and the rest of the message, "That goes double for your parents." 
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Comment #5 posted by Yanxor on January 27, 2008 at 18:24:03 PT
Sending the wrong message
Oh dear god, this buzzphrase among the prohibitionists is awful."Sending the wrong message to the kids"That wrong message? - Perhaps jailing people and giving them criminal records for something that 50% of the country did is a bad idea.These are the same folks that don't give a damn what kind of message it sends when Bush defeats health care for children, only to give $13 billion dollars to oil corporations within the month.There's something trully compassionate in sending that message: "Don't worry Tiny Tim, Exxon-Mobile needs this money more than you do."
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 27, 2008 at 11:17:45 PT
I feel such good vibrations coming out of your state the last day or two. I always thought California was the impact state but I am beginning to think the north east is what will bring change for everyone.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on January 27, 2008 at 11:14:12 PT
THanks FOM, we'll see how the other Mass. citizens do in November
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 27, 2008 at 09:57:41 PT
I have a special place in my heart for your state. I have only been thru Mass. a couple of times but the spirit that is there is one I have always loved.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on January 27, 2008 at 09:53:57 PT
Click here to vote in poll
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