/ December 21, 2008

Massachusetts Scrambles to Implement Question 2

After Question 2 passed on the Massachusetts ballot this November, decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, the administration was already concerned. Though they strongly disagreed with lessening the punishment for possession of one ounce or less of the drug, the people of Massachusetts overwhelmingly voted for the new $100 civil fine that would come along with the infraction instead. As if it wasn’t bad enough for the State when the proposition has passed, now their government is faced with the complications of enforcing the new law.

Unfortunately for Massachusetts, their civil code declares that offenses of this nature do not warrant the display of identification meaning perpetrators will not only get away without a criminal record, but they might just get off without any consequences at all. Police are already expressing concern over the difficulty of enforcing such a measure when people have no obligations to reveal who they are and the substance cannot be collected for testing. The executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, Wayne Sampson, even went as far to say that he believes the people of Massachusetts have sufficiently legalized marijuana possession. 
Advocates of the proposition insist that the process of implementation is not nearly as bad as it seems. Groups such as the Committee for a Sensible Marijuana Policy are encouraging government officials to look into other states with similar provisions such as Nebraska and New York who have had no difficulties thus far. With over $1 million spent in promoting the new provision, it’s doubtful that the Committee will let Massachusetts back away from this one but it will take quite a bit more maneuvering before it is ready to be law. 
Source: New York Times, The Boston Globe

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