Marijuana Bill Deserves Passage
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Marijuana Bill Deserves Passage
Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2009 at 09:16:21 PT
By The Connecticut Post Staff 
Source: Connecticut Post
Hartford, C.T. -- Polls indicate that state residents are willing to take a closer look at harsh penalties for marijuana possession. It's time lawmakers followed suit. The General Assembly's Judiciary Committee last week approved legislation that would end criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and create mail-in fines of $250. The change would not sanction or condone the use of drugs, but it would be a step toward eliminating a statute that can put a black mark on people's lives for generations.
When asked recently if state residents would favor a law similar to the statewide ballot initiative passed last November in Massachusetts, which is similar to the bill advancing in this state, voters approved 58 percent to 37 percent. The public seems to understand that pursuing such cases is not a good way to spend taxpayer dollars.Currently, possession of marijuana totaling less that 4 ounces is a misdemeanor. But arrests and convictions across the state take an enormous toll on public coffers, and the drug is no less available today than ever before. If the goal is prevention, today's tactics aren't working.And the lifetime stigma of a misdemeanor arrest is a legitimate hindrance. Opponents can argue that people found guilty in such circumstances deserve to have that record follow them. But public health experts say the dangers posed by people who face these arrests are not matched by the penalties they may incur if they cross paths with the criminal justice system.Politicians are always wary about moves like this, which come with the threat they could someday be labeled "soft on crime." But changing this law is far more important than the threat of negative advertising sometime in the future. Lawmakers should do what's right and then worry about the consequences.The bill in question differs from the frequently discussed proposal to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Though many people have said the drug helps deal with the symptoms of debilitating ailments, the state has been unable to pass such a measure. In 2007, there were almost 10,000 misdemeanor possession arrests in the state, with about a third of them for amounts less than an ounce. Removing these arrests from the judiciary could save an estimated $11 million a year in police, court and incarceration costs and produce about $320,000 in revenue from fines.But it's not about revenue -- it's about priorities. The public has come to the understanding that the cost of pursuing small-time drug users does not come close to matching the cost they incur by themselves. The Legislature should follow the public and approve this bill.Source: Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, CT)Published: April 3, 2009Copyright: 2009 MediaNews Group, IncContact: edit ctpost.comWebsite: Articles:Panel Votes To Decriminalize Half-Ounce of MJ May Discuss Decriminalizing Marijuana
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Comment #6 posted by cliff on April 05, 2009 at 19:35:34 PT
commentary from the stat king: Marijuana Legalization is Gaining MomentumBack in February, we detailed how record numbers of Americans -- although certainly not yet a majority -- support the idea of legalizing marijuana. It turns out that there may be a simple explanation for this: an ever-increasing fraction of Americans have used pot at some point in their lifetimes. The following chart details marijuana usage rates by age as determined from a 2007 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:============
theres more   link
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 05, 2009 at 11:10:42 PT
I voted for Reagan because I got angry with Carter because he didn't decriminalize marijuana. I think I did a dumb thing. 
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on April 05, 2009 at 11:05:44 PT
FOM I am totally with you I am Independent as well as also guilty of voting for Ronald Reagan, hey I was young and stupidHey Ron Paul is actually in the Republican Party and we still like himAs far as I can tell the big partisan-politics thing exists only to give the minority better control over the masses
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 05, 2009 at 10:22:58 PT
We're listening to this song now and this is how I feel about our country.Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen HQ "This Land is Your Land"
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 05, 2009 at 10:13:41 PT
I agree with different politicians on different issues. I am not any particular Party. I voted for Obama but I really am an Independent. I think people put too much weight on a Party rather then on the qualities in a person running for any position in the government. I only voted 3 times in my life. Reagan won and Obama won and Kerry lost. I am enjoying this victory a lot.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on April 05, 2009 at 09:39:24 PT
Ron Paul
FOM, thought this was funny - Ron Paul is advocating your point of view on the "tax and regulate" issue - we'll turn you into Libertarian yet! Paul noted that he does not see marijuana legalization as a tax issue, since he is anti-tax anyway, but sees the topic as a state’s rights and personal privacy issue. Congressman Paul also noted his own rather conservative district voters in Texas have never penalized him for his pro-reform positions. He spoke about the Industrial Hemp Farming Act as well, mentioning that he owns a few hemp t-shirts already.
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