Massachusetts Police Chiefs Legalize Marijuana

Massachusetts Police Chiefs Legalize Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 07, 2009 at 06:27:21 PT
By J.D. Tuccille, Civil Liberties Examiner
Source: Examiner
Massachusetts -- Police chiefs in towns like Auburn and Clinton, Massachusetts would undoubtedly deny that they have any interest in legalizing marijuana, but that's what they're about to effectively accomplish. Bent out of shape by the details of Question 2, the decriminalization measure that voters passed in November, those law-enforcement officials have announced that they won't bother issuing tickets to people caught smoking marijuana.
The new law, in effect since Friday, replaces criminal penalties with a $100 fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The text of the law also forbids any repercussions whatsoever, from denial of student loans to inclusion in a criminal record to consideration during applications for status as an adoptive parent.But in what is likely a clever sleight of hand by legalization advocates, the law, by pulling arrest off the table as an option, deprives police officers of any means to compel people caught with marijuana to show identification. Anybody willing to say "Donald Duck" to a cop who nabs him with a joint and asks for a name can escape even the $100 fine.And that's a good thing.Marijuana is now not only de facto legal in a few Massachusetts communities because police find the requirements of decriminalization too demanding, it is now effectively sanction-free in the entire state for anybody willing to face down a cop.The added benefit is that the state will not be collecting much revenue from those fines. Anything that denies resources to the government is a good thing.Governments never had the right to tell consenting adults what they can and can't buy from and sell to each other, or put into their own bodies. We're not quite at the point where politicians are willing to concede that point. But we're getting closer when police simply throw up their hands and effectively allow people to exercise their rights unmolested.Source: Examiner, The (USA)Author: J.D. Tuccille, Civil Liberties ExaminerPublished: January 6, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Examiner CorporationContact: mail theexaminer.comWebsite: Articles:Boston Goes To Pot Decriminalization Thrills Some, Worries Others Marijuana Law Shouldn't Pose Problems 
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on January 08, 2009 at 08:14:22 PT
It is good to read your professional insights.Thank you!
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 08, 2009 at 06:25:56 PT
When I talk to people about marijuana laws in my state they don't seem to understand what the big deal is. The state is hard on drinking and driving but reasonable on marijuana possession. One person I read about a number of years ago in a local paper's police report had 8 ounces and the cop took some away from the person because he said that was too much to possess. He basically said tone it down.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on January 08, 2009 at 04:13:20 PT
Comment 5 OverwhelmSam
"Why is that such a difficult concept?"I'm beginning to suspect they are experiencing some sort of hysterical blindness.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 08, 2009 at 04:10:10 PT
Reformers are looking for honesty
and justice in these processes. We have been for a long time. Lying about your name isn't about honesty. I hope people don't do it.
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Comment #5 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 07, 2009 at 20:23:03 PT
New Marijuana Law Too Demanding?
Give me a break. Then how have they been doing it in Colorado and Ohio all these years. I know how they do it, because I've read about it. They issue a citation for $100 and confiscate your pot. Why is that such a difficult concept?
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on January 07, 2009 at 20:13:57 PT
fake names
Giving a fake name to the police is not a good idea. Even if you get away with it, Iím certain every state has some kind of laws about that. It is good to hear that some police will not even issue citations because it is not worth the trouble. Wasnít that one of the points... to discourage cannabis prosecution?
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on January 07, 2009 at 09:57:30 PT
Our local paper also
reports arrests, fairly often, of people who gave false names to police.
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Comment #2 posted by Commonsense on January 07, 2009 at 09:40:44 PT
Irresponsible rhetoric, Irresponsible reporting
I've seen a lot of these articles where they seem to be encouraging people to give the police fake names if they are caught with pot. In my state at least it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine to give the cops a fake name. Signing a fake name on the ticket could be a felony forgery. I'm can't believe Massachusetts doesn't have similar laws. Surely this issue has come up many times in the past when people issued citations for other infractions use fake names or someone else's name. We have that come up all the time in my area and people who do this are usually found out and they end up being in a lot more serious trouble than they would have been had they been honest up front. This is probably really a non issue. Most people carry identification and will give it to police if asked for it. Most won't lie to police about their names because they don't want to get themselves in more trouble. Police and prosecutors in Massachusetts with all their irresponsible whining by about these new pot laws seem hell bent on making this a problem in their state. Instead of encouraging people to lie they need to spread the word about what will happen to people who do lie. Otherwise people are going to give police fake names when they get these citations because they've heard all this nonsense from police and prosecutors and clueless reporters making it seem like there is no penalty for giving a fake name. Then they're going to be in a lot more trouble and have criminal records for offenses involving deceit that will hurt them in the future. 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on January 07, 2009 at 08:07:41 PT
A guy who is speaking my language!  Bravo.
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