Pot On The Ballot

Pot On The Ballot
Posted by CN Staff on August 31, 2008 at 06:29:26 PT
By Margo Pierce
Source: Cincinnati City Beat
USA -- No, Cincinnati City Council hasn't finally come to its senses, but other states are doing what a democracy usually does: following the will of the people. Decriminalizing marijuana is what a majority of voters in Boston think is a good idea, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).In a press release they announce that “nearly three out of four Massachusetts voters support a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to decriminalize the possession and use of small amounts of cannabis by persons age 18 or older.” This comes from a Channel 7 News/Suffolk University poll of 400 registered voters.
“Seventy-one percent of respondents said that they would vote 'yes' on the November ballot measure, which would replace criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of no more than $100,” the press release says. “Only 22 percent of respondents opposed the proposal.”If the initiative passes in November, Massachusetts will be the first state to enact marijuana decriminalization legislation since Nevada's legislature in 2001 -- but it would be the first state to accomplish this via a voter initiative. There are 12 states with some form marijuana decriminalization on their books.If Michigan voters agree with a statewide initiative legalizing the medical use of cannabis for qualified patients, it will become the 13th state since 1996 to authorize “medical marijuana.”Then there’s backward/backwater Cincinnati officials who give the cops whatever they want when they offer no evidence to back up their claims of needing “another tool” for arresting non-violent criminals.Where does Ohio Stand? This from the NORML Web site:Conditional release: The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.Mandatory minimum sentence: When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence (MMS), the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.Decriminalization: The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.Drugged driving: This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have any detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific threshold. For more information, see NORML's Drugged Driving (DUID) report.For more information, visit or call Executive Director Allen St. Pierre at 202-483-5500 (he actually does take calls from people).Source: Cincinnati City Beat (OH)Author: Margo PiercePublished: August 29, 2008Copyright: 2008 Lightborne Publishing Inc.Contact: letters citybeat.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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