2 Sides To Pot Question

2 Sides To Pot Question
Posted by CN Staff on October 27, 2008 at 06:11:35 PT
By Aaron Nicodemus, Telegram & Gazette Staff 
Source: Telegram & Gazette
Massachusetts -- A ballot question that would decriminalize — but not legalize — possession of small amounts of marijuana is vehemently opposed by members of law enforcement, who say the new law would encourage drug use.Supporters of Question 2 argue that replacing criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties would prevent a relatively minor offense from ballooning into a stumbling block to future jobs and college scholarships. And they say that drug use has not increased in 11 other states that have decriminalized marijuana, including New York.
If passed, the new system of civil penalties would exclude information regarding the civil offense from the state’s criminal record information system. Offenders age 18 or older would be subject to forfeiture of the marijuana plus a civil penalty of $100. Offenders under the age of 18 would be subject to the same forfeiture and, if they complete a drug awareness program within one year of the offense, the same $100 penalty. Sutton Police Chief Dennis Towle, like many in law enforcement, is opposed to Question 2.“I don’t think it’s refutable that marijuana is a gateway drug,” he said. “I think passing this would undoubtedly lead to increased usage in teenagers, and will undoubtedly lead to more of them getting behind the wheel of a car.”The law currently gives police officers and the courts plenty of discretion in handling marijuana possession, he said. Of the 59 criminal cases of drug possession in Sutton this year, 30 were arrested, and 29 were summoned to court with a citation.Chief Towle said that his officers probably confiscated and destroyed marijuana from at least that many individuals over the course of the year without arresting or summoning them.“I think we have pretty lenient drug laws already,” he said.Beverly Chorbajian is a Worcester defense attorney and member of the Worcester County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.She says the current system punishes an offender long after the arrest, booking and court arraignment. “You can lose job prospects, college funding. Kids need to finish school. They don’t need a relatively minor offense to get in the way of that.”Ronal Madnick, director of the Worcester County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the current penalties for marijuana possession are too strict.“Even if this passed, marijuana would still be illegal,” he said. “It doesn’t change the other laws. Selling? Driving under the influence? They’re not changed by this at all.”Mr. Madnick said passing Question 2 would save the state $30 million a year, according to a study by Harvard professor Jeffrey A. Miron.“It’s really a drain on the police and the courts,” he said.Opponents of Question 2, like Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., said that passing Question 2 sends a bad message.“What we don’t want to have is a law that says it’s OK to smoke marijuana.”He said the $30 million savings touted by proponents of Question 2 is overblown. “We question the numbers. We don’t give them a lot of credit.”If the real issue behind Question 2 is removing the stigma of a marijuana-related arrest, than effort should be made to fix that law, he said.“You shouldn’t fix the CORI law by decriminalizing marijuana.”Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)Author: Aaron Nicodemus, Telegram & Gazette Staff Published: Sunday, October 26, 2008 Copyright: 2008 Worcester Telegram & GazetteContact: letters telegram.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site: Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy of Marijuana Sparks Lively Debate of Voters Want Marijuana Decriminalized
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Comment #6 posted by rchandar on November 02, 2008 at 17:08:59 PT:
Why Massachusetts is a "Must-Win" For Us
Precedent.Yes, we must win because of the precedent it would set.I've followed these articles for the past seven years. And I've met some great people on this board--people who were interested in spreading a message of humanity, truth, love.In all that time, no decriminalization measure has been successful. Several cities "deprioritized," several states enacted MMJ legislation, a few cities even operated pot clubs for the sick--and the DEA targeted them repeatedly.Folks, it's been nearly twenty years, however, since ANY state went decrim. Yes, about twenty years. THIS is the bar that we have to jump, if things are going to go our way.Here's why: precedent. If Massachusetts--a state with a liberal record, with Democrats in all areas of government, cannot decriminalize simple pot possession, that means that our society still expects pot users to be treated as crooks. If we win, then other states can introduce legislation, compare outcomes in rehab, courts, workplaces, to try and decide if they could benefit from a more sensible drug policy. Twelve states. And it's stayed that way for a long time--was it 1982?--rchandar
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Comment #5 posted by museman on October 28, 2008 at 10:26:47 PT
“I don’t think it’s refutable that marijuana is a gateway drug,” (Sutton Police Chief Dennis Towle) said. That's right, it isn't 'refutable' because most leos, lawyers, judges, and local governments are the 3 'see-no-truth, hear-no-truth, speak-no-truth, monkeys.The facts that have been stacked up against the propaganda are denied through deliberate ignoring (the most dangerous form of ignorance).The real reasons why all these Roman Pig Farmers -biblical swine- refuse to aknowledge the truth about cannabis is stated in comments #3 & 4. >MONEY.MONEY for beer parties, money for improving the architecture on county buildings -(like light-sensitive toilets) money for newer computers, money for new cars, money for more and better guns, money for bribing those who might reveal the truth, money for more stupid, brain-dead cops, money,, is refutable, and when the election is over, I suggest people start refuting -is the immoral, un-ethical power and false authority continually being granted and given to these lizard-brained over-seers of contemporary amerika.I think it is high time that the people had a hand in choosing their 'protectors and servers.' I mean look at who is always speaking as 'authority' in the WOD; Cops, lawyers, judges, D.A.s, and Republicans (democrats too -just not as ridiculously). I don't know about anywhere else, but I for one am tired of having to vote for judges, who are supposed to be 'non-partisan' but there is never anyone running against them! I have yet to see any choice other than the one that the G.O.B. club of the afore mentioned scumbags throws at the people as if it were a 'choice.'In Oregon they are trying a trick to get stricter sentencing - along the '3-strikes you're out' vein, by 'offering' us two initiatives. If we don't vote for one of them, and the other gets 'more votes' (it doesn't have to get a majority) it automaticly wins. The wording in the initiatives are so legalezed, most people aren't even going to bother to try and figure it out.Our system is corrupt. It doesn't work for the people, just the 'chosen few,' and all the dumb-shits that kiss up to the chosen.Please, people, we got to get into the mix. Its not enough to just vote, or pass initiatives -particularly when the powers just ignore them because they claim their 'authority' is 'higher' and 'trumps' the will of the people. After this election, we got to go to the finish.More people-based initiatives DEMANDING our liberties and freedom. More people running for local politics (throw out the 'lawyers club'). Don't vote for incumbents -unless you KNOW they are doing right for the people. More community meetings -without cops, lawyers, judges, and career politicians directing the conversations. More standing up for rights when brought before the false courts, more stalwart denial of the wrong-actions of law-enforcement. Do not roll-over and cop a plea, unless the 'plea' serves you more than it does them. Do not give them opportunity to rape your wallet, FIGHT!There is a lot to be done to fix the mess that this country is in. The politicians can't do it, because their hands are so glued to the purses of the very wealthy, they cannot even perform toiletries without guilded toilet paper. 'Business as usual' has gone as far as we should have ever allowed it to go. Time to fire all the in-efficient, money-hungry, Good 'Ol Boys, and get some real people in there, people who live amongst us, not in some falsely elevated strata of society, out of touch with reality.FREE NORTHERN LIGHTS FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #4 posted by potpal on October 28, 2008 at 07:33:34 PT
2 sides
one, leo and prosecuters golden calf and job engine: prohibitiontwo, rights of the people
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on October 27, 2008 at 19:07:13 PT
it's about the power
Here is the deal. The authorities want to keep the discretion part. If they like you, or are you are from a “good family”, etc., etc. you can get off, if they don’t like you then you will be in for a really tough time. Also, if you are caught for doing something else and you have some cannabis on you, they can pile that charge on also (a misdemeanor can now turn into a felony.) So it is partly about the power and who gets to wield it. Should thousands of people get messed over so they can keep this power? I think not. 
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Comment #2 posted by mykeyb420 on October 27, 2008 at 10:00:11 PT
how many OVERDOSES from JUST marijuana??
is the question I asked,here is their answer:Michael,
We do not have an answer to your question, and I’m sorry about this. 
First, we no longer aggregate the mortality data across all the participating areas jurisdictions because the total was often misinterpreted as a national estimate.
Second, we used to try to differentiate between deaths directly caused by drugs (“drug-induced”) and deaths where drugs contributed but weren’t the direct cause (“drug-related). However we found that this was unreliable, because there was so much variation across Medical examiner/coroner offices. For example, some medical examiners labeled all the drug-related deaths as “drug-related.” (and others did the opposite: they only reported “drug-induced” to us). This is why we now publish “drug-related” which covers both types.
The closest way to get at ‘overdose’ is to look for deaths that involved only one drug. So for marijuana, this would involve reviewing the metropolitan area profiles in the DAWN annual mortality report. At a minimum, you could see what percentage of the deaths involving marijuana was single-drug. 
The only national source of mortality data that I’m aware of is at the National Center for Health Statistics, which receives copies of all death certificates in the US. However, they obtain less details about drugs than DAWN does and I’m not sure if they code the marijuana or not. More information about the national mortality data is available from, and the data can be queried using the CDC Wonder database. -Elizabeth Elizabeth H. Crane, Ph.D., M.P.H.Drug Abuse Warning NetworkDiv of Facility Surveys, Office of Applied Studies,Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationPhone: 240 276-1275  Fax 240 276-1260elizabeth.crane The Office of Applied Studies values your feedback. Please click on the following link to complete a brief customer survey: BTW:
 the correct answer is ZERO
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on October 27, 2008 at 06:54:29 PT
“I think we have pretty lenient drug laws already,
Fine then what's he bitchin' about? Isn't Queation 2 just bringing the court dockets in line with the streets?Or is there something more sinister afoot?-bwuaahaahaa!!!!
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