Marijuana decriminalization law goes into effect
Boston Globe, January 2, 2009
I don’t smoke weed, but I think it should be my prerogative to do so. I hope Massachusetts’ decriminalization law is part of a wave of sensible drug policy reforms across the country. Kudos to the voters of Massachusetts for passing this referendum.
In Maine, where I live, possession of less than 1.25 ounces of marijuana is a civil violation punishable with a small fine (NORML). No jail time. While I think that is still excessive and unnecessary, it is far more sensible than the laws in other jurisdictions.
Marijuana isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause any real adverse health effects.
Drug laws are an affront to liberty. Adults should be able to do whatever they want to do with their own body. There should be no victimless crimes or crimes against oneself.
Between 2004 and 2006 there were over seven million marijuana arrests (Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative). This law enforcement “war” comes at a huge cost to the American taxpayer. It not only requires huge amounts of law enforcement resources, but it is the primary reason for prison overcrowding. I’d rather spend less money to incarcerate fewer offenders and pay for law enforcement to capture and prevent real crimes that could effect me or my loved ones. Most of those persons jailed for marijuana violations were convicted of non-violent possession.
Let’s put an end to the “drug war”. Decriminalize all drug use and possession and only incarcerate violent offenders. Alcohol and tobacco are far more harmful than the most potent illicit drugs and they are both legal. It would be far better to regulate the cost, quality and availability of drugs than to make them illegal and push them into the black market. Didn’t we learn anything when we prohibited alcohol in the 1920s?
The Globe Editorial focusing on the bureaucratic collection of fines is disappointing and silly. The readers’ comments, however, are interesting.
You can have pot, but you can’t buy it legally from anyone. How does this encourage respect for the law? Legalize it. Grow it. Tax it. Track it. Prohibition is a losing proposition, encouraging a black market and contempt for the law, enriching criminals and endangering communities.
The next ballot initiative necessary (due to the spineless intransigence of our legislature on any “drug” matter) is the decriminalization of cultivation of up to four (4) plants by one person or household. $1,000 fine. Any more than that and standard criminal offenses apply.
Pot’s now decriminalized but where do people source it? The black market. There’s no better way to make the lives of drug dealers harder than by reducing demand. Let people grow a *little* of their own.
I agree. Decriminalizing possession should only be the first step.