Legislators Discuss Changes To MJ Possession Law

Legislators Discuss Changes To MJ Possession Law
Posted by CN Staff on March 24, 2009 at 13:28:41 PT
Source: The Day
Hartford, C.T. --  The legislature's Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony this afternoon on a proposal to decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.The bill, which has support from influential lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, would largely mimic the law passed by referendum last year in Massachusetts, reducing the penalty for possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use to an infraction, resulting in fines but no threat of jail sentence.
The goals are two-fold, Looney said in testimony before the Judiciary Committee this morning: to remove the lingering stigma of a criminal conviction from the offense of possessing a small amount of the drug, and to prevent law enforcement resources from being spent prosecuting non-violent drug offenders.“The possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use should not leave a person with a life-long criminal record,” Looney said.Under the bill, the penalty for a first-time conviction on possession of between one and four ounces of marijuana would be up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in prison. For repeat offenders, the maximums would rise to $3,000 and five years in prison, or a combination thereof.Looney also cited a new report by the legislature's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis that estimates the state could save $11 million by dropping criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.Included in those savings, Looney said, would be a reduction in court costs, in part because the state would no longer be required to provide public defenders for those charged with simple marijuana possession. Instead, violators would be required to pay a fine, similar to a parking or traffic violation, unless they chose to challenge the matter in court.“This is an issue, like medical marijuana, where the public is ahead of elected officials,” Looney said, noting a recent poll by Quinnipiac University that showed 58 percent of respondents supported lowering the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The Massachusetts ballot question passed by a roughly two-to-one margin.The bill would not change existing criminal penalties for possession of other drugs, or for other marijuana-related crimes, including cultivating or selling the drug.Source: Day, The (CT)Published: March 24, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Day Publishing Co.Contact: editor theday.comWebsite: Articles: Poll: Connecticut Should Legalize Marijuana Move To Change Pot Laws Gathers Steam
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 24, 2009 at 16:19:50 PT
Maryland Lawmaker Pushes Bill to Study MMJ
Maryland Lawmaker Pushes Bill to Study Medical MarijuanaMarch 24, 2009ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Montgomery County lawmaker is pushing legislation that would require Maryland create a task force to study medical marijuana issues.Delegate Henry Heller says he doesn't use medical marijuana himself. Some of Heller's neighbors, however, in a Silver Spring senior community have told him they wanted to use it to treat serious illness but they were afraid of running afoul of the law.The state has less severe fines for people convicted of marijuana possession who can demonstrate medical necessity for the drug, but they can still be arrested.A number of medical marijuana advocates told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that Maryland is sending mixed messages about using marijuana to provide relief from debilitating illnesses such as cancer or HIV.TM & © WJLA/NewsChannel 8, a division of Allbritton Communications CompanyOn the Net: Read House Bill 1339:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 24, 2009 at 15:55:42 PT
Jury Acquits South Kitsap Man In MMJ Case
Update: Jury Acquits South Kitsap Man in Medical Marijuana CaseBy Josh Farley March 24, 2009    
PORT ORCHARD — Jurors acquitted a medical marijuana user Tuesday of growing pot illegally and attempting to sell it in a case hailed by advocates of the drug as a victory for such patients in Kitsap County.URL:
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