Taking Drugs at a Wedding?

Taking Drugs at a Wedding

What’s Really Happening with Taking Drugs at a Wedding

Alcohol detox symptoms and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are just the terms used to spell out the affects on your body once you suddenly quit drinking alcohol after having consumed excessive quantities previously. You are able to discover a lot of alternative herbal remedies that promise to earn more blood flow move to the penis. Additionally, self treatment can result in a higher chance of liver damage or other serious medical issues. For serious instances of hypoglycemia, the individual could be treated with intravenous administration of glucose. If you don’t have a personal physician or minister, call the local hospital.

As you get in the tradition of focusing less on the behavior of different folks in your life, you can come to understand that you also have played a little role in producing the chaos. You simply need to truly feel upset because of somebody else’s drinking. Where to Get Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment If you or somebody you love is a heavy drinker, you can readily find the explanations for why they need to seek out medical assistance for their alcohol addiction problem after possible. After all you would want to destroy a wedding. Especially if they got beautiful wedding decor in mississauga

The Lost Secret of Taking Drugs at a Wedding

Marketing your organization online doesn’t need to be complicated. Along with their site, it is possible to also call them at 1-800-993-3869. If you really need to have one of the best wedding sites, social media buzz is an absolute must. Then consider the rest of the people on your list and take action to apologize for anything you’ve done to hurt them. Developing and employing an e-mail list is an increasingly important part of the advertising puzzle.

Once more, it’s a superior try to confer with your physician to establish the one that is going to function best for you. Realize that you’re now starting to change. You don’t even need to be convinced that they’re an alcoholic. Lastly, the whole thing faded away. No matter the reason, the only truth that holds true for each of them is that love are available even in the darkest of places. If you take a close look at the facts and figures, more than sixty percent of folks say they make resolutions each year.

Even more severe problems can happen if she also uses drugs. The issue with the tobacco remedy is I am not a smoker. If you’ve got certain medical issues, the intensity of your withdrawal symptoms could be worse.

Facts, Fiction and Taking Drugs at a Wedding

If you desire people to engage with your content, you will need to begin with the maximum quality content possible. Creating valuable content ought to be at the surface of your list when you wish to improve your site. People today take in media on a couple of social platforms. By enrolling in our services, you will be connected to a network of marketers and productive advertising ideas. You’ll have to embrace every social networking platform so you stay connected to your audience.

Get the Scoop on Taking Drugs at a Wedding Before You’re Too Late

If, for instance, you’re very controlling with your adult children, you’ll have to practice letting go. If a young person comes out of a family where alcoholism has occurred previously, it’s even more important! When you have friends that are in Alcoholics Anonymous, they will likely know more about the different therapy centers in your town. Other people can think nothing you say now can compensate for something cruel you said or did before.

Up in Arms About Taking Drugs at a Wedding?

Sometimes people are surprised to learn the opportunity to create amends will suddenly open up to them. The Ninth Step is your opportunity to attempt to repair a number of the damage which has been done and receive a fresh start with a number of your relationships. Additionally, commit yourself to changing the manner in which you treat them later on. In other instances, make amends by altering the way that you treat people with the future. All you really can control is the way you feel about your life. Folks wish to find out what’s happening in your life at this time.


Drug Policy Facts

The Little-Known Secrets to Drug Policy Facts

There are lots of men and women who want to give up smoking for the interest of a wholesome living. There might come a time when you find it tough to stop smoking even after the 12 weeks treatment. Smoking has turned into a frequent obsession with men along with women now-a-days. Your social smoking will probably produce a tobacco addiction.

Marijuana’s been around for centuries. Marijuana is such a huge thing. Many people don’t even know the actual reason marijuana ever became illegal.

If you’re taking such medications, there’s a considerable possibility that you are going to have false positive pregnancy test result. Anti-fungal medications are essential for fungal infection. Over-the-counter drug medications are also beneficial to control the many indicators of sinusitis.

It is not easy for a lot of people, and of course people using drugs aren’t the exception,” he explained. The drug also appears to lessen overall body mass, which is regarded as one the most significant determinants of your body weight. Actually, if used for a very long time period, such drugs can even result in serious health complications and would also tremendously improve your spending on the total health expenses. The exact same drug is also called paracetamol in countries besides the usa. Many commonly prescribed drugs are found to induce vitamin deficiency within the body.

Drug Policy Facts

Facts, Fiction and Drug Policy Facts

Inform your physician if you’re pregnant, intend to get pregnant, become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Consult your physician before you get started breastfeeding. Your doctor can allow you to figure out which type you will need. You would need to work closely with your physician to figure out the reason for infection. As a result of dangers connected with it, be certain to check with your physician before using aspirin. Obviously, just like all healthcare challenges, your own private physician is the very best resource, but here are some of the basics that will assist you in making sense of your options to cut back your everyday aches and pains.

Drug treatment has no charge and provided via the healthcare system and the municipal social services. It aims to minimize symptoms. In spite of the belief that antibiotics treatment is the sole thing to do, there are a lot of treatment alternatives for sinusitis based on the basis for infection. Only as soon as the cause is correctly identified can the suitable treatment be prescribed. There are lots of treatments available for alcoholism today.

After the disease requires the respiratory system, it could be life-threatening. Information overload syndrome isn’t life-threatening, but nevertheless, it can be extremely limiting. It can also result from your own last-minute decisions.

The Tried and True Method for Drug Policy Facts in Step by Step Detail

A lot of the continuing controversy in the FDA is about the idea of patents, profits and greed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by any matter, online counseling may benefit you. The issue isn’t the first withdrawals, for a real drugoholic, insurmountable as they may seem. Of all Of the known smoking risks to your health perhaps the most vital one isn’t facing the truth about smoking and living in a huge denial. A lot of people experience a feeling of stigma or shame around issues. One of the greatest ways to prevent smoking is by working with a psychotherapist who uses a mix of behavior modification procedures and clinical hypnosis. It’s very obvious that it is a location for individuals using drugs.

Most cases are just suspended. Nonetheless, there is increasing evidence that a number of individuals would be delta-state, fully conscious of what is happening. There’s no empirical proof to back up the disease theory. Recent studies have proven that it is totally safe not only for medical purposes but also for recreational use. It’s not uncommon to discover numerous studies which are all at odds with one another. It’s essential to note that when smoked in equivalent quantities, research tends to demonstrate that Marijuana is more dangerous because of poor filtering. A bit of research and effort initially of your move may help save you and your family plenty of heartache and grief.

What You Don’t Know About Drug Policy Facts

The easiest type of insurance can result from the means of mutual aid. For companies that are in a position to navigate the approval procedure, the sector for biosimilars is inherently different to the standard generics market. Its purpose was supposed to diminish public nuisance mostly brought on by German drug tourists. Likewise, it regulates the usage of intoxicants. The normal use of marijuana is illegal in all portions of the usa. There are many treatment options available.

Learn how it affects you and find the resources you require. Nevertheless, certain kinds of information won’t be disclosed under any conditions. The information might help others down the street. Many situations the info isn’t so much stolen as leaked by somebody internally. People today want to have more information than ever. In spite of the simple fact that meth addiction statistics in the USA indicate decreasing quantities of addicts, meth addiction is still a worldwide epidemic that has seen little shift in the last ten years. School reports and health care records are a few examples.


Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts

New Step by Step Roadmap for Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts

The results take as much as a week. The outcomes of numerous questions asking for less stringent marijuana laws are a very clear signal to the state legislature that it is the right time to open a larger discussion about it. Nonetheless, the numbers are on the upswing, she explained.

Led by indefatigable Tim Beck, Michigan activists have been able to pass municipal personal legalization initiatives in all of the state’s biggest cities in the last few decades. Efforts are underway throughout the country to modify the laws. Moreover, there’s overwhelming public support.

Even the ballot question states it and the outcomes are binding. Everyone and everyone can comprehend this problem. The matter of drugs raises a great deal of economic and noneconomic issues, Kotlikoff states.

If you think your rights are violated, you need to contact a lawyer. Sessions’ policy is not really new. Now, it’s the U.S. government prohibiting people from participating in some specific boycotts they desire to join. Folks are nervous about it. Under current law, local communities choose whether to have needle exchanges, and it is a complicated issue to become done. There’s a public policy community here that must know more about the HEA and the way it affects kids in our state.

Her life is gone as a result of a five-dollar hit of a drug that isn’t even illegal, Valentine explained. Unfortunately the life of a youthful man was sacrificed, proving that discretion isn’t being used and that the law has to be changed. Unfortunately, the life of a youthful man was sacrificed, proving that discretion isn’t being used and that the law has to be changed.

The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts Cover Up

The ballot question isn’t about compassion. This established drug policy for over 30 decades. In California, all of the action is all about medical marijuana. There’s no fantastic reason for Mamadu to be incarcerated at this time. Just like Bay State Repeal, there’s a pot populist tinge. PPQs played a valuable part in repealing Massachusetts alcohol prohibition nearly eight decades past, he explained.

Top Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts Secrets

There are other possible pitfalls. The conventional assumption behind prohibition is that in the event that you prohibit it, folks won’t do it. Accuracy and availability can fluctuate.

The session starts January 3, thus we have a couple weeks to acquire more cosponsors. The decision is going to be made on December 16. Only final approval is required by both branches for the measure to visit Gov. Deval Patrick. This past year, the US Supreme Court explained that, as well as athletes, students involved with extracurricular activities might be randomly tested at public schools. Juveniles would also need to take drug awareness classes and do community support.

People don’t need to go to treatment whenever they don’t wish to. The pressure also includes a threat attached. The tax cuts don’t need the approval of the Legislature. 1 size doesn’t fit all, and little businesses and their employees depend on flexibility to improve salaries and other added benefits, not costly state mandates.

Anyway, travel is extremely overrated. New York isn’t plagued with crime due to immigrants. Four counties are handling cultivation problems. California is a unique case this year. Michigan is fly-over country for the huge players. Cambridge is among the districts that will secure a say on the situation. Lawrence testified he thought Aguirre simply wished to acquire high, not make a buy.

Opponents of decriminalization aren’t backing down. In Massachusetts, the legislators are extremely slow to act on the problem, he explained. Also, regardless of the success of the ballot initiatives, some neighborhood lawmakers still appear reluctant to touch the matter. Voters will secure the 2 ballots at the exact same time, and both ballots will go into the exact machine. Voters in the 3rd Plymouth District were asked whether possession of a single ounce of marijuana needs to be considered a civil offense, such as, for instance, a traffic ticket, rather than a criminal offense. Legalization might not be the very first order of business, but it’s the greatest goal, Beck explained. Legalizing marijuana won’t only protect the public better than prohibition, it is going to raise new revenues and make jobs and enable states to realize tremendous savings in law enforcement expenses.


The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on the Budgets of Massachusetts Governments , With a Discussion of Decriminalization’s Effect on Marijuana Use

The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on the Budgets of Massachusetts Governments , With a Discussion of Decriminalization’s Effect on Marijuana Use

Jeffrey A. Miron Professor of Economics Boston University jmiron@bu.edu 781-856-0086

November 1, 2003

This study was commissioned by the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts. I am grateful to Carola Moreno for research assistance.

Executive Summary

  • Decriminalization of marijuana has received substantial attention over the last several decades. Decriminalization means that possession is not subject to criminal sanctions but instead punishable only by a civil fine. Trafficking, and selling or distributing to minors, remain subject to standard criminal penalties.
  • Proponents suggest that decriminalization has several beneficial consequences, including budgetary savings for state and local governments, improved welfare for marijuana users, and an improved allocation of criminal justice resources. Opponents suggest that decriminalization produces a substantial increase in marijuana use along with increased crime and other negative effects.
  • This report examines two effects of decriminalization: the impact on government budgets and the impact on marijuana use.
  • The report estimates that decriminalization of marijuana in Massachusetts would produce an annual savings in law enforcement resources of approximately $24.3 million.
  • This report also reviews existing evidence from other states and countries on the effects of marijuana decriminalization on marijuana use. This evidence provides no indication that decriminalization leads to a measurable increase in marijuana use.

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I. Introduction

Decriminalization of marijuana is a policy that has received substantial attention over the last several decades. Decriminalization means that possession of marijuana is not subject to criminal sanctions but instead punishable only by a civil fine. Trafficking, and selling or distributing to minors, remain subject to standard criminal penalties.

During the 1970s, eleven U.S. states adopted some form of decriminalization, and numerous countries have decriminalized as well.1 The issue has resurfaced in recent years as ballot initiatives or legislative proposals to decriminalize have appeared in several states.2 Proponents suggest that decriminalization has several beneficial consequences, including budgetary savings for state and local governments, improved welfare for marijuana users, and an improved allocation of criminal justice resources. Opponents suggest that decriminalization produces a substantial increase in marijuana use along with increased crime and other negative effects.

This study addresses two of the issues that are central to the debate over marijuana decriminalization: the impact of decriminalization on government budgets and the impact of decriminalization on marijuana use.

This report is not an overall evaluation of whether marijuana decriminalization is a beneficial change in policy. The fact that the budgetary savings would be large or small does not, by itself, determine the wisdom of this policy change. Similarly, the fact that any change in marijuana or other drug use would be small or large does not, by itself, determine whether decriminalization is better than current policy. But both pieces of information are relevant to policy makers and the public when considering changes to current policy toward marijuana.

This report concludes that decriminalization of marijuana in Massachusetts would produce an annual savings in law enforcement resources of approximately $24.3 million. The estimates provided here necessarily make use of approximations in cases where available data do not permit a more detailed analysis. But wherever possible the report has relied on

1 The states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon. Alaska (1990) has since voted to recriminalize, although the implications of that vote are unclear. A twelfth state, South Dakota, also decriminalized during this period but recriminalized within a year. In 1996 Oregon recriminalized, but in 1998 the voters rescinded recriminalization and returned to decriminalization. More recently, Nevada decriminalized in 2001. See http://www.norml.org/ and http://www.drugpolicy.org/statebystate/ for details. Countries that have decriminalized include Italy (1990), Spain (1992), Portugal (2001), Luxembourg (2001), Belgium (2001), and Austria (1998). Several other countries (Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Canada) have either de facto decriminalized or are in the process of decriminalizing. See http://eldd.emcdda.org/ and http://www.norml.org for details.

2 For example, Question 9 on the November, 2002 ballot in Nevada would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana and require the state to provide a legal means of purchasing marijuana. Issue 1 on the November, 2002 ballot in Ohio would allow treatment instead of incarceration for many drug offenses. Proposition 203 on the November, 2002 Arizona ballot would decriminalize possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana. Several states have also passed or are considering medical marijuana laws. See the references in fn. 1 above.

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approximations that bias the estimated budgetary effects downward, so the actual effects are plausibly higher than suggested here.

This report also reviews existing evidence from other states and countries on the effects of marijuana decriminalization on marijuana use. This evidence provides no indication that decriminalization leads to a measurable increase in marijuana use.

II. Estimating the Budgetary Implications of Decriminalization

There are two budgetary implications of marijuana decriminalization. The first is the savings in criminal justice resources that occurs to the extent police, prosecutors, state forensic laboratories, court clerical personnel, judges, and prisons are not utilized in connection with marijuana possession offenses. The second is any change in revenue that occurs because the criminal fines currently levied on marijuana possession offenders are replaced by civil fines. Of these two components, the savings in criminal justice resources is far more important. This section addresses each of these components in turn.

The Savings in Criminal Justice Resources

A simple approach to estimating the savings in criminal justice resources from decriminalization entails the following steps:

1. determine the percentage of all Massachusetts arrests that is for marijuana possession; 2. determine the criminal justice budget of Massachusetts;
3. multiply the first number by the second.

Under certain assumptions, this approach yields a reasonable estimate of the resources utilized due to the criminalization of marijuana possession in Massachusetts.3 Some of these assumptions are questionable, however, so modification of this approach is in order.

To begin, many arrests for marijuana possession do not lead to trials or prison terms. Instead, a substantial fraction of such arrests are plea-bargained, continued without a finding, dismissed, diverted to treatment, or otherwise handled in a manner that makes substantially less use of the criminal justice system than many other arrests. Thus, the approach outlined so far must be modified to account for the differential degree to which marijuana possession arrests utilize police resources, prosecutorial and judicial resources, and correctional resources. This report implements this more detailed approach below.

A second issue that arises in carrying out the calculation above is that there is more than one decriminalization proposal currently being considered in Massachusetts, and these would

3 An implicit assumption is that the technology is roughly constant-returns to scale, so that average costs equal marginal costs. This equivalence is not necessarily accurate in the short-run or for very small communities, but it is likely a good approximation overall. Relatedly, the police conduct activities that are unrelated to arrests, such as traffic control. These related police tasks are likely minor, however, in comparison to police activities that involve arrests.

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affect different fractions of officially recorded marijuana arrests. For example, some proposals remove criminal penalties for possession of an ounce of marijuana or less (e.g, H.2124), while others remove criminal penalties for possession of any amount deemed to be for personal use and not for distribution (e.g., H.1170). This report focuses on the latter approach, since there do not appear to be data on the fraction of possession arrests broken down by amount. The estimates provided here can be modified to consider other cases by multiplying the bottom line estimates by the fraction of arrests falling below a specific quantity cutoff.

Still a third difficulty with the approach outlined above is that some arrests for marijuana possession occur because the arrestee was under suspicion for a different crime, but during a routine search the police discovered marijuana. This means a marijuana possession arrest is recorded, along with an arrest on the other charge. But if marijuana possession is not a criminal offense, the suspects in such cases would still be arrested on the charge that led to the search, and police resources would be used to approximately the same extent as if marijuana possession were criminal. 4

Taken to the extreme, the fact that some marijuana arrests are incidental to arrests for other offenses suggests there might be minimal savings of police resources resulting from decriminalization. The extreme is probably not an accurate description, for reasons given below, but it is important to think carefully about this issue.

To this end, it is useful to consider the various ways that marijuana possession arrests can occur. There are three main possibilities. The first, here labeled stand-alone, are those arrests that arise entirely out of the criminalization of marijuana possession. Stand-alone arrests include instances where police observe someone smoking marijuana or believe someone possesses marijuana because of detection of the characteristic odor. The second category, here labeled civil-incidental, includes arrests that are incidental to a non-criminal infraction, such as a traffic violation in which a police officer observes or smells marijuana. The third category, here labeled criminal-incidental, consists of arrests that occur because the police have detained a suspect under suspicion of a different crime and then determined that the suspect possesses marijuana.

A rough first approximation to the amount of police resources that would be saved under decriminalization would be that corresponding to stand-alone plus civil-incidental marijuana arrests. In both cases, under decriminalization the police would no longer make an arrest but instead simply cite the offender for possession, as occurs now for various traffic violations.5 Thus, it is useful to know what fraction of possession arrests are in these two categories as opposed to the criminal-incidental category.

Two kinds of information are available to estimate this fraction. The first is the experiences of judges and lawyers who are involved with marijuana possession cases. These impressions provide a useful baseline, even though they do not constitute hard evidence. For the purposes of this report, the author contacted several representatives from these groups; each of the persons contacted suggested that stand-alone plus civil-incidental arrests account for at least

4 This assessment of equivalent resource utilization is an overs tatement since there is typically a lab test to determine the precise content of any drugs seized. Also, it presumably takes additional resources to prosecute a given offender on multiple charges rather than on a single charge.

5 There might be a charge of driving under the influence of marijuana, but that is a separate issue. 4

40% of the marijuana possession arrests in Massachusetts, and several thought the percentage substantially higher.

The second approach to estimating this fraction is to obtain data on the fraction of those arrest incidents involving marijuana possession in which there was a single charge of marijuana possession, as compared to a charge of marijuana possession and a charge of something else. These data are available for two locations in Massachusetts, Brockton and Barnstable.6 These data indicate that approximately 33% of marijuana possession arrests involve one charge only, meaning they are either stand-alone or civil-incidental.7

These facts together suggest that 33% is a reasonable lower bound on the fraction of marijuana possession arrests that would no longer occur and result in a savings in criminal justice resources under decriminalization.

To determine the implication of this fact for the Massachusetts budget requires information on the fraction of arrests due to marijuana possession. In 2000 there were 123,379 total arrests, of which 15,399 were for drug law violations.8 Also in 2000, 42% of arrests for drug law violations were for marijuana possession, implying that 5.2% (= .42*(15,399/123,379)) of arrests in Massachusetts were for marijuana possession.9 Multiplying by 33% give 1.7% as the fraction of arrests that would not occur and result in a savings of criminal justice resources under decriminalization.

The savings in criminal justice resources implied by this percentage has three components in principal: a reduction in police resources because of the reduced number of arrests; a reduction in prosecutorial and judicial resources because of the reduced number of criminal applications, pre-trial hearings, and trials; and a reduction in correctional resources because of the reduced number of prisoners.

In practice, only the first of these three components is likely to be affected to any substantial degree by decriminalization of marijuana possession in Massachusetts. Data on the disposition of marijuana possession arrests are not readily available, but data on the number of prisoners serving time for marijuana possession suggest that only modest numbers of possession

6 The data are averages over the 1999-2002 period (through 9/23/02). For first offenses the fraction is 34% in Brockton and 38% in Barnstable. For subsequent offenses the fraction is 24% in Brockton and 50% in Barnstable. First offenses are substantially more common, and the Brockton sample is substantially larger. Thus, 33% is a reasonable bound.

7 Reuter, Hirschfield, and Davies (2001) provide data on this fraction for Baltimore in the late 1990s; the fraction of marijuana only arrests is 46%. They also present data for Montgomery County indicating that 616/1237 marijuana possession arrests occurred because of direct observation, with 436 additional arrests arising out of traffic stops. This would suggest an even higher stand-alone plus civil-incidental fraction.

8 See U.S. Department of Justice (2000, Table 69, corrected).

9 The 42% figure is for states in the Northeast; data specifically for Massachusetts are not yet available for 2000. Massachusetts data for 1997 and earlier, however, confirm that this is a reasonable estimate of the fraction of arrests due to marijuana possession in Massachusetts.

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charges go to trial.10 Likewise, the relatively small number of persons imprisoned on marijuana possession charges means that correctional costs related to this charge are modest as well.11

The most important source of savings is therefore that corresponding to the reduced use of police resources. The fiscal year 1999 Massachusetts budget for police protection was $1.389 billion.12 The arguments above thus suggest there would be savings equal to 1.7% of this amount as the result of decriminalization, since this fraction of arrests would not occur and result in a proportionate reduction in resources utilized. This implies a savings of $24.3 million.

Change in Revenue from Fines

Under current law, the penalty for marijuana possession can include a fine of up to $500. Under decriminalization, marijuana possession would be punishable by a civil fine of, for example, $100. The net effect of decriminalization on the revenue accruing to Massachusetts governments is difficult to determine. Many offenders under current law do not pay the criminal fine, but some indigent offenders under decriminalization might not pay the fine as well. Given these uncertainties, this report does not estimate the net change in revenue. Since the number of arrests in question is modest, the maximum effect of the change in policy on revenue collections is minor in comparison to the effect of decriminalization on savings in criminal justice resources.

Comparison with Other Estimates of the Budgetary Implications of Decriminalization

A number of authors have estimated the budgetary implications of decriminalization experiences in other states. None of these decriminalizations is directly comparable to the laws being considered in Massachusetts, but examination of the earlier results nevertheless provides useful perspective on the estimate discussed above.

Blachly (1976) presents the results of a survey conducted in connection with Oregon’s decriminalization of marijuana. The results only document the beliefs of the police, district attorneys, and judges surveyed, rather than providing hard data. The results are difficult to interpret. A majority of police believed marijuana prosecutions decreased, but a majority of district attorneys believed that prosecutions increased. Police narrowly thought police effort on drug cases had increased, while a majority of district attorneys thought police effort on drugs cases had decreased. The sample sizes are small, and very little time had passed between the change in policy and the survey date.

Aldrich and Mikuriya (1988) examine the impact of California’s reduced criminalization on law enforcement costs in that state. They focus on the fact that the law made most possession

10 See Massachusetts Department of Corrections (2001, 2002). It is difficult to pin down the precise number of persons being held on marijuana possession charges since there are certain prisoners for whom the exact charge is difficult to determine (e.g., possession of a controlled substance in a school zone). In addition, these data sources do not indicate the length of sentence for different charges.

11 As discussed further below, this conclusion of modest impact takes as given current rules on probation and parole violations, under which detection of any marijuana use can send parolees/probationers to prison. If these rules were relaxed, the number of prisoners would be affected more substantially, resulting in more savings from decriminalization.

12 See http://www.census.gov/govs/estimate/9922ma.html . 6

offenses misdemeanors rather than felonies, which implies a reduction in law enforcement resources. They show that after reduced criminalization took effect on January 1, 1976, felony marijuana arrests declined substantially while misdemeanor marijuana arrests rose substantially, with total marijuana arrests falling. The decline in the total number of arrests, combined with the shift in disposition procedures toward less expensive misdemeanor arrests, produced a substantial decline in law enforcement resources. It is difficult to compare their numbers directly to the estimate here since the key effect in that instance was the change in marijuana punishment from felony to misdemeanor.

The Main State Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention (1979) analyses the cost savings resulting from Maine’s 1976 decriminalization. This study uses a disaggregated approach, costing out each of the items affected by decriminalization, such as reduced arrests, guilty pleas, courts appearances, and the like. The bottom line is a net change of roughly $350,000. The study uses a marginal rather than average cost approach, however, which underestimates the full effect.

Ehlers (2002) estimates that the Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative (Issue 1 on the November, 2002 Ohio ballot) would produce a substantial reduction in criminal justice expenditures, but that initiative applies to all drug offenders, not just marijuana offenders, and it does not break out the savings by drug.13

II. Does Marijuana Decriminalization Lead to Increased Marijuana Use?

One critical issue in the debate over decriminalization is the degree to which marijuana use increases after adoption of decriminalization. Advocates of decriminalization do not regard all increases in use as necessarily undesirable; indeed, some suggest that allowing responsible use of marijuana by adults is a benefit rather than a cost. Opponents of decriminalization regard any increase in use as undesirable. Whatever one’s view on this issue, however, it is useful to know whether the change in marijuana use caused by decriminalization is large or small. If the change is small, determining whether it is a cost or a benefit is not critical to the debate.

Evaluations of decriminalization experiences in other states and countries provides little indication that use increases to any substantial degree as the result of decriminalization.14

Johnston, O’Malley, and Bachman (1981) use data from Monitoring the Future, an annual survey of U.S. high school seniors, to see whether the changes over time in marijuana use differed across states that did or did not decriminalize during the 1970s. They find little evidence of any difference.

13 Relatedly, supporters of Question 9 in Nevada estimate substantial budgetary implications from passage of that initiative, but Question 9 goes much farther than simple decriminalization by requiring the state to provide a legal mechanism by which adults can purchase marijuana.

14 This report summarizes the most complete and convincing of the evaluations of decriminalization’s effect on marijuana use. There are several additional studies that are either small-scale or less well- designed than those summarized here (see, for example, Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention (1978) ) . These studies nevertheless reach the same conclusion documented above.

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Thies and Register (1993) use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth for 1984 and 1988 to determine whether individuals in decriminalized states had different use rates for alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine. They find little evidence that decriminalization affects use of any of these substances.

Model (1993) finds some evidence of increased marijuana use resulting from decriminalization, but this evidence is hard to interpret because the measure of marijuana use is emergency room drug mentions of marijuana. This measure might reflect attitudes toward drug use, which could correlate with decriminalization. Model also finds that decriminalization is accompanied by decreased mentions of drugs other than marijuana, suggesting substitution away from other drugs.

MacCoun and Reuter (1997, 2001) discuss the evidence on marijuana decriminalization in the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands. They conclude there is no evidence that decriminalization increases marijuana use.15 Single, Christie, and Ali (2000) reach the same conclusion regarding evidence on the experience with decriminalization in several Australian states.

The result that decriminalization has little impact on marijuana use might seem surprising, since standard economic principles suggest that lowering the penalties for use should increase demand and therefore the quantity consumed. The explanation for the counterintuitive result of little impact on use is that decriminalization frequently ratifies what has already taken place in the form of reduced enforcement of marijuana laws. Furthermore, the fact that some states decriminalize while others do not might reflect incidental factors rather than any real difference in policy. Thus, actual enforcement of marijuana laws probably did not change much in decriminalizing states or changed across states in ways that bear little relation to the criminal status of marijuana. Nevertheless, existing evidence provides no indication that marijuana decriminalization causes increased marijuana use. In particular, there is no reason to expect a substantial increase in marijuana use in Massachusetts since enforcement of marijuana laws already provides little disincentive to use.

IV. Discussion

This report provides an estimate of the savings in criminal justice resources that would accrue to Massachusetts state and municipal governments under the decriminalization of marijuana. That estimate is $24.3 million per year. Several aspects of this estimate deserve further discussion.

The estimated savings in criminal justice resources is likely the minimum savings that would occur under decriminalization, since most of the assumptions underlying this estimate err on the low side. In particular, the estimate assumes there are no trials on charges of marijuana possession and no prison terms due to marijuana possession. Both assumptions appear to be reasonable approximations, but they are not lit erally correct. To the extent trials and imprisonments occur, the estimated savings in criminal justice resources reported here is

15 While finding no significant affect on use from decriminalization, MacCoun and Reuter do conclude that the commercialization of cannabis in the Netherlands has contributed to an increase in use. They are correct to suggest that commercialization might expand use more than decriminalization, but they potentially exaggerate the implications of the Dutch experience. See Miron (2002).

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downward biased.16 Further, the estimate reported here uses 33% as the fraction of current marijuana arrests that would not occur and not be offset by resources devoted to other arrests; this estimate appears to be conservative. Indeed, results in Reuter, Hirschfield and Davies (2001) imply a fraction more than twice as high, which would imply a cost savings more than twice as high as that reported here.

The estimate presented here takes as given that current rules regarding parole and probation would remain in effect under decriminalization. Under these rules, a positive test for marijuana use constitutes a violation that can cause any parolee or probationer, regardless of underlying offense, to be sent to prison. It is plausible these rule s would be relaxed under decriminalization. This would keep non-trivial numbers of parolees and probationers out of prison, with substantial savings for the government budget.17

A different point to note is that decriminalization, under which distribution and trafficking remain illegal, is not the only possible modification of the marijuana laws and certainly not the approach that would maximize the revenue benefits to Massachusetts governments. A broader change in policy, for example, is the one being considered on the November, 2002 ballot in Nevada. Under the proposed Nevada law, possession is decriminalized and the state is required to provide a legal means for adults to purchase marijuana. This approach means the state can tax every purchase of marijuana, rather than just collecting a civil fine in cases where an arrest would otherwise occur.

There are several aspects of the results here that could be refined if more detailed data were available. These data include information on the precise disposition of marijuana arrests, on the length of sentences served by marijuana offenders, and on the exact nature of the offense under which certain drug offenders are imprisoned. In addition, future work might fruitfully consider in detail other aspects of policy toward marijuana, such as the rules regarding marijuana use by probationers and parolees.

16 The estimate here also ignores the fact that some prosecutorial and judicial resources are utilized in connection with possession arrests even when no trial occurs, such as in pre-trial hearings.

17 http://www.state.ma.us/doc/faqs.htm reports that the annual cost of a prisoner in Massachusetts is currently $36,131.

9

References

Aldrich, Michael R. and Tod Mikuriya (1988), “Savings in California Marijuana Law Enforcemente Costs Attributable to the Moscone Act of 1976 — A Summary,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 20(1), 75-81.

Blachly, Paul H. (1976), “Effects of Decriminalization of Marijuana in Oregon,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 282, 405-415.

Ehlers, Scott (2002), “A Fiscal Analysis of Issue 1: The Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative,” Ohio Campaign for New Drug Policies.

Johnston, Lloyd D., Patrick M. O’Malley, and Jerald G. Bachman (1981), “Marijuana Decriminalizations: The Impact on Youth, 1975- 1980,” Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper #13.

MacCoun, Robert and Peter Reuter (1997), “Interpreting Dutch Cannabis Policy: Reasoning by Analogy in the Legalization Debate,” Science, 278, 47-52.

MacCoun, Robert and Peter Reuter (2001), “Evaluating Alternative Cannabis Regimes,” The British Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 123-128.

Massachusetts Department of Corrections (2001), New Court Commitments to Massachusetts County Correctional Facilities During 2000, Concord, MA: Research and Planning Division, Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

Massachusetts Department of Corrections (2002), January 1, 2001 Inmate Statistics, Concord, MA: Research and Planning Division, Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

Miron, Jeffrey A. (2002), “Review of Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times, & Places, by Robert J. MacCoun and Peter Reuter,” The Independent Review, 7, Summer 2002, forthcoming.

Model, Karyn E. (1993), “The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on Hospital Emergency Room Drug Episodes: 1975-1978,” Journal of the American Statistical Association,” 88, 737-747.

Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention (1978), An Evaluation of the Decriminalization of Marijuana in Maine, Augusta, ME: Department of Human Services.

Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention (1979) , The Decriminalization of Marijuana and the Maine Criminal Justice System: A Time/Cost Analysis, Augusta, ME: Department of Human Services.

Reuter, Peter, Paul Hirschfield, and Curt Davies (2001), “Assessing the Crack-Down on Marijuana in Maryland,” manuscript, University of Maryland.

Single, Eric, Paul Christie, and Robert Ali (2000), “The Impact of Decriminalization in Australia and the United States,” Journal of Public Health Policy, 21, 157-186.

10

Thies, Clifford F. and Charles A. Register (1993), “Decriminalization of Marijuana and the Demand for Alcohol, Marijuana, and Cocaine,” The Social Science Journal, 30, 385-399.

U.S. Department of Justice (2000), Crime in the United States 2000, Washington, D.C.: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice.


Four Districts Approve Medical Marijuana Reform in 2008 Election

Four Districts Approve Medical Marijuana Reform in 2008 Election

Massachusetts voters ask legislators to allow physician-approved medical use

Boston — For the fifth consecutive election cycle, voters in select State Representative districts delivered overwhelming victories on marijuana reform Public Policy Questions.   Activists from DPFMA and MassCann/NORML placed the four local initiatives that ask state legislators to allow medical marijuana use by seriously ill patients.  The PPQs were approved by over 70% in a landslide victory along with the 65% approval margin for the binding, statewide Decriminalization initiative.

The PPQs asked voters in 15 towns: “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”

Election Results (see below for detailed results)

1st Middlesex Representative Robert S. Hargraves – Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, and Townsend:

WIN 73% to 27%

13th Norfolk Representative Lida E. Harkins – Medfield, Needham, and precincts 1 and 2 of Dover:

WIN 73% to 27%

21st Middlesex Representative Charles A. Murphy – Bedford, Burlington, precinct 3 of Wilmington:

WIN 71% to 29%

6th Plymouth Representative Daniel K. Webster – Hanson, Pembroke, precincts 2,3,4,5 of Duxbury, precinct 2 of Halifax:

WIN 71% to 29%

Since 2000 Massachusetts voters have passed 45 marijuana reform PPQs by a wide margin, 69% yes for medical marijuana and 62% for decriminalization (see below for map).   Unanimous PPQ support for decrim led to Question 2 in 2008;  yesterday Massachusetts voters approved decriminalization by 65%.

DPFMA urges the state legislature to pass H.2247, “An Act to Regulate the Medical Use of Marijuana by Patients Approved by Physicians and Certified by the Department of Public Health” sponsored by Rep. Frank Smizik.  Currently twelve states including Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine have passed similar legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and imprisonment.  Suffering patients in Massachusetts should not have to wait for another ballot initiative for relief.

In January 2008 the American College of Physicians released a landmark position paper endorsing full legal protection for medical marijuana patients.  (report available at http://www.acponline.org/acp_news/medmarinews.htm) The ACP represents 124,000 member doctors and is the second largest physician group in the US.

Election Results – November 2008

Public Policy Question – Allow physician-approved medical marijuana

“Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”

1st Middlesex Representative District (R – Robert S. Hargraves)

Town

Yes

No

Total Votes

Yes %

Ayer

2,289

847

3,136

73%

Dunstable

1,032

443

1,475

70%

Groton

4,293

1,333

5,626

76%

Pepperell

4,353

1,506

5,859

74%

Townsend

3,418

1,289

4,707

73%

District Total

15,385

5,418

20,803

74%

21st Middlesex Representative District (D – Charles A. Murphy)

Town

Yes

No

Total Votes

Yes %

Bedford

5,033

1,678

6,711

75%

Burlington

7,863

3,667

11,530

68%

Wilmington

1,250

563

1,813

69%

District Total

14,146

5,908

20,054

71%

13th Norfolk Representative District (D – Lida E. Harkins)

Town

Yes

No

Total Votes

Yes %

Dover

2,268

849

3,117

73%

Medfield

2,373

863

3,236

73%

Needham

11,709

4,406

16,115

73%

District Total

16,350

6,118

22,468

73%

 6th Plymouth Representative District (R – Daniel K. Webster)

Town

Yes

No

Total Votes

Yes %

Duxbury

4,186

1,612

5,798

72%

Halifax

1,280

467

1,747

73%

Hanson

3,513

1,509

5,022

70%

Pembroke

6,270

2,561

8,831

71%

District Total

15,249

6,149

21,398

71%

 


Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts Endorses Question 2

Four Medical Marijuana Public Policy Questions also on ballot

Boston — DPFMA endorses Marijuana Decriminalization and urges Massachusetts citizens to “Vote Yes on 2”.  By creating a uniform and consistent penalty of a $100 civil fine, this reform keeps marijuana possession illegal but removes many of the pernicious consequences of criminal arrest.  The current law disrupts the lives of productive members of society by causing a lifelong criminal arrest record, loss of driver’s license, loss of scholarship funds and ineligibility for many jobs.

The issue of decriminalizing marijuana possession has a substantial track record of support within the Commonwealth.  Voters have voiced their support by approving 24 decrim. Public Policy Questions since 2000 by an average of 62% (see attached map).  At the State House, the Joint Committee for Mental Health and Substance Abuse has approved Senate bill S.1121 in the last two legislative sessions.

Also for the 2008 election, activists from DPFMA and MassCann/NORML have placed four Public Policy Questions in State Representative districts concerning the medicinal use of marijuana.  Voters in 15 towns will be able to decide the following ballot question: “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”

1st Middlesex Representative Robert S. Hargraves Question 4 – Towns of Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, and Townsend.

13th Norfolk Representative Lida E. Harkins Question 4 – Medfield, Needham, and precincts 1 and 2 of Dover. (The PPQ will appear as Question 5 in Needham)

21st Middlesex Representative Charles A. Murphy Question 4– Bedford, Burlington, precinct 3 of Wilmington.

6th Plymouth Representative Daniel K. Webster Question 4– Hanson, Pembroke, precincts 2,3,4,5 of Duxbury, precinct 2 of Halifax.

In January 2008 the American College of Physicians released a landmark position paper endorsing full legal protection for medical marijuana patients.  (report available at http://www.acponline.org/acp_news/medmarinews.htm) The ACP represents 124,000 member doctors and is the second largest physician group in the US.

Since 2000 Massachusetts voters have passed 41 marijuana reform PPQs by a wide margin, 68% yes for medical marijuana and 62% for decriminalization.  Currently twelve states including Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine have passed similar legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and imprisonment.


Medical Marijuana Initiatives on the Ballot November 4th, 2008

Voters in 15 towns to decide Medical Marijuana Public Policy Questions

Boston — Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts announces that, for the 5th consecutive election cycle, Massachusetts citizens will vote on marijuana reform Public Policy Questions.  Since 2000, voters in over 125 towns representing one-third of the Commonwealth have voted overwhelmingly in favor of marijuana reform (see below for complete election results).

For the 2008 election, activists from DPFMA and MassCann/NORML have placed four Public Policy Questions in State Representative districts concerning the medicinal use of marijuana.  Voters in 15 towns will be able to decide the following ballot question: “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”

1st Middlesex Representative Robert S. Hargraves Question 4 – Towns of Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, and Townsend.  Representative Hargraves sits on the Joint Committee on Public Health in the State Legislature.

13th Norfolk Representative Lida E. Harkins Question 4 – Medfield, Needham, and precincts 1 and 2 of Dover. Representative Harkins is the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives. This PPQ will appear as Question 5 in the town of Needham.

21st Middlesex Representative Charles A. Murphy Question 4– Bedford, Burlington, precinct 3 of Wilmington. Representative Murphy is serving his sixth term in the State Legislature.

6th Plymouth Representative Daniel K. Webster Question 4– Hanson, Pembroke, precincts 2,3,4,5 of Duxbury, precinct 2 of Halifax.  Representative Webster sits on the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

The towns of Medfield, Needham, and Hanson are within the Congressional district of Stephen Lynch, the only Mass. Congressman currently opposed to laws that protect legitimate medical marijuana patients at the federal level.

In January 2008 the American College of Physicians released a landmark position paper endorsing full legal protection for medical marijuana patients.  The ACP represents 124,000 member doctors and is the second largest physician group in the US. The ACP report is available at:

http://www.acponline.org/acp_news/medmarinews.htm

Since 2000 Massachusetts voters have passed 41 marijuana reform PPQs by a wide margin, 68% yes for medical marijuana and 62% for decriminalization.  This year all Massachusetts voters will also vote on Question 2, a binding referendum that will make simple possession a civil offense with $100 fine.

DPFMA has been working with the state legislature to pass H.2247, “An Act to Regulate the Medical Use of Marijuana by Patients Approved by Physicians and Certified by the Department of Public Health” sponsored by Representative Frank Smizik.  Currently twelve states including Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine have passed similar legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and imprisonment. Here in Masschusetts, H.2247 is currently being considered by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health.


Public Policy Question Election Results: 2000 – 2006

 


PPQ Results by District:

Representative Districts

   

 

   

District

Subject

Yes

No

Share

#

Election Year

Current Incumbent

Fourth Barnstable

Medical

14,315

8,804

62%

(5)

2000

Sarah K. Peake (D)

Third Berkshire

Medical

10,909

4,173

72%

(1)

2004

Christopher Speranzo (D)

First Essex

Decrim

9,223

5,811

61%

(2)

2002

Michael A. Costello (D)

Second Essex

Decrim

9,658

6,762

60%

(2)

2002

Harriett L. Stanley (D)

Fourth Essex

Decrim

11,481

7,023

62%

(2)

2000

Bradford Hill (R)

Eighteenth Essex

Decrim

8,397

5,681

60%

(2)

2002

Barbara A. L’Italien (D)

Second Franklin

Industrial Hemp

5,965

5,471

52%

(7)

2002

Christopher J. Donelan (D)

First Hampshire

Tax & Regulate

11,494

8,393

58%

(4)

2004

Peter V. Kocot (D)

Sixth Middlesex

Decrim

9,883

4,781

67%

(3)

2000

Pam Richardson (D)

Twenty-Fourth Middlesex

Medical

14,551

4,705

76%

(1)

2004

William N. Brownsberger(D)

First Norfolk

Decrim

7,425

5,173

59%

(6)

2002

Bruce J. Ayers (D)

Second Norfolk

Decrim

6,817

4,559

60%

(6)

2002

A. Stephen Tobin (D)

Sixth Norfolk

Medical

10,791

4,506

71%

(1)

2004

William C. Galvin (D)

Seventh Norfolk

Medical

8,386

4,820

64%

(1)

2006

Walter F. Timilty (D)

Tenth Norfolk

Decrim

11,568

7,625

60%

(2)

2004

James E. Vallee (D)

Twelfth Norfolk

Decrim

8,538

5,388

61%

(6)

2002

John H. Rogers (D)

Third Plymouth

Decrim

15,215

6,956

69%

(3)

2004

Garrett J. Bradley (D)

Fifth Plymouth

Decrim

9,467

6,339

60%

(3)

2002

Robert J. Nyman (D)

First Plymouth

Decrim

9,320

5,863

61%

(3)

2006

Viriato M. deMacedo (R)

Seventh Plymouth

Medical

13,784

5,902

70%

(1)

2004

Allen J. McCarthy (D)

Twelfth Plymouth

Decrim

8,862

5,919

60%

(3)

2006

Thomas Calter (D)

Second Suffolk

Decrim

4,227

2,914

59%

(3)

2002

Eugene L. O’Flaherty (D)

Fourth Suffolk

Decrim

4,923

3,907

56%

(3)

2002

Brian P. Wallace (D)

Tenth Suffolk

Decrim

7,734

5,164

59%

(3)

2002

Michael F. Rush (D)

Eleventh Suffolk

Decrim

5,616

2,436

70%

(3)

2002

Elizabeth A. Malia (D)

Thirteenth Suffolk

Decrim

3,672

2,627

57%

(3)

2002

Martin J. Walsh (D)

Fourteenth Suffolk

Decrim

3,944

3,596

52%

(3)

2002

Angelo M. Scaccia (D)

Fifteenth Suffolk

Decrim

6,429

2,423

74%

(3)

2002

Jeffrey Sanchez (D)

Seventeenth Suffolk

Decrim

3,846

1,749

69%

(3)

2002

Kevin G. Honan (D)

Eighteenth Suffolk

Decrim

4,202

2,109

67%

(3)

2002

Michael J. Moran (D)

Second Worcester

Decrim

6,647

4,783

59%

(3)

2002

Robert L. Rice Jr. (D)

Fifth Worcester

Decrim

7,409

5,230

59%

(3)

2002

Anne M. Gobi (D)

Sixth Worcester

Decrim

10,005

5,829

63%

(3)

2004

Geraldo Alicea (D)

Twelfth Worcester

Decrim

12,618

6,008

68%

(3)

2004

Harold P. Naughton, Jr. (D)

Fourteenth Worcester

Medical

6,717

4,197

61%

(5)

2002

James B. Leary (D)

Fourteenth Worcester

Decrim

6,298

4,420

59%

(3)

2002

James B. Leary (D)

 

 

Senate Districts

   

 

   

District

Subject

Yes

No

Share

#

Election Year

Current Incumbent

Second Essex

Decrim

45,956

26,612

63%

(2)

2004

Frederick E. Berry (D)

Third Essex & Middlesex

Decrim

36,505

19,752

65%

(2)

2004

Thomas M. McGee (D)

Second Middlesex

Decrim

33,403

17,185

66%

(8)

2000

Patricia D. Jehlen (D)

Third Middlesex

Medical

38,187

17,674

68%

(1)

2006

Susan C. Fargo (D)

Worcester & Norfolk

Medical

48,739

22,611

68%

(1)

2004

Richard T. Moore (D)

 

Town of Amherst

Decrim

1,659

981

63%

(9)

2000

Amherst Select Board

 

Total votes: Yes – 484,220; No – 276,875; yes/no ratio across the state as a whole – 64%.  (For reference, about 1.2 million people voted for Governor Patrick.)

Total Medical Marijuana approval rate: 68%

Total Marijuana Decrim. approval rate: 62%

Policy Questions

Shall the (Representative or Senator) from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation…

(1)… that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal Medical use?

(2)… making possession of marijuana a civil violation, like a traffic ticket instead of a criminal offense, and requiring police to hold a person under 18 cited for possession until the person is released to a parent or legal guardian or brought before a judge?

(3)… that would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a maximum fine of $100 and not subject to any criminal penalties?

(4)… that would allow the state to regulate the taxation, manufacture and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older provided that outlets are state licensed, do not sell alcohol, and are not within 500 yards of a school?

(5)… that would allow patients with certain diseases, who have a written doctor’s recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal use, until such time as the federal government puts into place an effective distribution system for these patients?

(6)… that would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a maximum fine of $100 and not subject to any criminal penalties?

(7)… that would allow licensed farmers in Massachusetts to grow cannabis hemp (a crop containing 1% or less THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) for legitimate agricultural and industrial purposes?

(8)… that would make the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a fine of no more than $100.00. The effect of this proposed legislation would be to amend existing law by repealing all criminal penalties for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

(9) “Shall the following proposal be passed? In affirmation and expansion of the Amherst Town Meeting vote of May 12, 1976 [Article 52, Part 2], we urge the members of the Select Board, and the Town Manager, to persuade our State Representative, State Senator, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senators to repeal the prohibition of marijuana; and, in the interim, before repeal has been effected, we urge the Amherst Police Department to deprioritize the enforcement of laws covering the possession of marijuana against persons over the age of eighteen.”


Treatment

Diversion From Incarceration to Treatment

DPFMA asserts that low-level, non-violent drug offenders should be diverted from incarceration to the appropriate level of services for their addiction severity.

History

  • In 1981, the “Drug Dependent Persons Act” granted trial court judges in Massachusetts the authority to divert low-level drug offenders to treatment programs. Unfortunately, that law has lapsed into disuse throughout the Commonwealth.
  • In 2000 a statewide ballot initiative, Question 8, would have diverted would have diverted drug offenders from incarceration into treatment and paid for the treatment services through assets forfeited from drug dealers. [Link to Asset forfeiture page]. Unfortunately, this initiative was defeated by law enforcement groups that wanted to keep the forfeiture funds for themselves.
  • In the 2003-2004 legislative session DPFMA supports S.1139, sponsored by Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Second Suffolk), and H.2999, sponsored by Representative Frank Smizik (D-Brookline). These companion Senate and House bills would have allowed first- and second-time, low-level, non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of incarceration. Unfortunately, these bills were not voted out of Committee befor the end of the session.

DPFMA Goals

  • DPFMA is working with judges, doctors, substance abuse and treatment providers, social workers, caseworkers, public defenders, and others to support alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders.
  • In the 2005-2006 legislative session DPFMA is supporting a new bill — H.3556 sponsored by Representative Martin Walsh which extensively modifies current Massachusetts Diversion law so that it is mandatory, rather than discretionary.
  • Additionally, DPFMA supports two bills that have been reintroduced from the 2003-2004 session S.1077 & H.984sponsored by Senator Wilkerson & Representative Smizik respectively

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