Bill Proposed To Decriminalize Marijuana

Bill Proposed To Decriminalize Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 17, 2008 at 14:57:06 PT
By Lisa Newman
Source: Northeastern News
MA -- Massachusetts may soon become the thirteenth state to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.The House of Representatives has assigned a judiciary committee to review a bill that would change the punishment for those found in possession of marijuana. Instead of being a criminal offense, it would become more like a traffic ticket for anyone possessing less than an ounce, and would be punished strictly by fine.
Twelve other states have already passed similar laws and NORML and MassCann hope that by May of this year, Massachusetts will also do the same.The effect this would have on Northeastern's policy is unclear at the time. Renata Nyul, the assistant director of communications and public relations at Northeastern said the administration is not concerned yet."Marijuana is currently an illegal drug and we are not planning for that to change," Nyul said. "If this does happen, we will have to address it in terms with the law."Many students, however, have actively advocated the passing of a law like this one, including the Northeastern chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), which, despite attempts, is not a student group.Kevin Wadsworth, a middler biology major who started the chapter, helped campaign and collect signatures to promote the new law, along with other students.Wadsworth said the current law causes problems. "It makes people use drugs in secret which is the worse thing possible because that just confirms the stereotypes when there's such a broad range of people doing it," he said. "There's also no guarantee about who will get caught and there's no consistency. Someone who smokes everyday might not ever get caught but someone who smokes once a week might and that isn't doing any good."Because the details and implications of this law are still fuzzy, some students oppose the passing of it. Hiba, a freshman biology major does not see the importance of the drug. She didn't want to give her last name because of privacy."I'm sure a lot of people still use [marijuana] despite the legal issues, but with harsher consequences, they are more likely to think twice before using it," she said.On the other hand, some students see no deterrence in current marijuana laws and no reason to punish those who use it."A lot of money is spent on punishing marijuana offenders who are only in possession and are not criminally dangerous," said senior psychology and English major Chris Coughlin. "It's not deterring anything and it's just as bad as alcohol or tobacco."Alex Faust, a freshman political science major, said he thinks the short term effects of the law may be less beneficial than long term effects."If this law passes, there's going to be a lot of people going out and using it [marijuana] right away. But long term, the novelty will wear off and reverse psychology will kick in and it won't be as popular I don't think," Faust said.The long term effects of similar laws in other states are yet to be determined since the law is so new. Advocates, however, see the effects to be promising.The law will only be applied to those over the age of 18. In that sense, punishment for possession would be like an alcohol or tobacco citation. Some students believe this is a necessary amendment."I know that young people are very easily influenced," Hiba said. "They would try something without being fully aware of its effects and that needs to be taken into consideration."Source: Northeastern News, The (Northeastern U, MA Edu)Author: Lisa NewmanPublished: January 17, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Northeastern NewsContact: editor nu-news.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy Pot and The Ballot Box of Marijuana a Hot Topic with Ballot Question
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on January 20, 2008 at 08:51:28 PT
Re: Delta Upsilon
Years ago, I had heard rumors at my school of some of the frats doing the exact same thing. (We were in different social circles, so I couldn’t confirm it. Usually the freaks and the frats didn’t mingle socially.) It was a fundraiser for the frats to help with social events and charities. They found this made them more money that selling doughnuts. None of them ever got caught though. I'm sure they are all upstanding citizens now.
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on January 17, 2008 at 20:41:11 PT
This from Iowa
in the county where the Univeristy of Iowa, Johnson, the Sherriff has called for a lower priority change in law because of the BS that it is, going to the Statehouse two years ago to make his point. anyway here are some new soldiers joining the fight..........I will get in touch with some IANORML in those parts, there was talk of a marijuana ordinance in IA CITY to be on Novembers ballot. vvvvvvvvv"U of I students plead not guilty to pot charges
By MASON KERNS • REGISTER CORRESPONDENT • January 17, 2008Four members of the University of Iowa's Delta Upsilon fraternity have pleaded not guilty to charges they were selling high-grade marijuana out of the fraternity house. The Johnson County charges stem from a police raid of the residence in early December that reportedly netted 650 grams of marijuana, cash, packing materials, scales and drug-deal ledgers. According to a police statement, much of the material was locked in safes inside the fraternity members' rooms.Stephen Boyler, of Bettendorf; James Goetz, of Madison, Wis.; Joseph Hillegas, of Hinsdale, Ill.; and Arthur Kerwin, of Wheaton, Ill., have each been charged with possession and/or conspiracy to deliver marijuana and with failing to affix required tax-stamps to the drugs. Both charges are Class D felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine.A trial date has not yet been set. Shortly after the arrests, U of I Vice President for Student Services Phillip Jones barred Delta Upsilon from hosting official fraternity functions and from using university facilities as a group without special permission. Jones could not be reached for comment late Thursday, but he has warned the fraternity that, pending the results of the case, "more serious sanctions may be imposed, including the possibility of derecognition" as an official university fraternity. "here is the Sheriffs email............he wants laws changed Denver like.lpulkrab 
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on January 17, 2008 at 18:55:38 PT
would be interesting
That would be interesting if both Mass. And Vermont passed some kind of decriminalization. 
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on January 17, 2008 at 15:35:37 PT
Bin Laden's son wears natty dreads!
I just read in the news -- Osama Bin laden's son wears dreadlocks and wants to become a peace activist.
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