DPFMA’s Top Tier Legislative Priorities

Bills written, submitted and ushered through the process by DPFMA include

An Act Relative to the Arrest and Prosecution for the Possession of Marihuana for Medical Purposes: S.B. 998

An Act Amending the Commonwealth’s Current Law Regulating the Physician-Approved Use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes by DPH-Certified Patients: H.B. 2742 (Previously H.B. 2965).

An Act to Impose a Civil Fine for the Possession of Marijuana: H.B. 862 & S.B. 1151

An Act to Amend the Commonwealth’s Drug Treatment Program, to Allow for the Diversion of Low-Level Offenders Under Court Supervision: H.B. 3556

Concerned Citizens for Appropriate Justice

DPFMA is proud to be partnering with CCAJ to work on changing District Attorney charging practices — especially mandatory minimum enhancements — as well as statewide sentencing laws. CCAJ consists of business owners, parents, elected officials, religious leaders, prevention and education specialists, and many other concerned citizens who want to see discretion and concern for individual and community well being in all criminal cases adjudicated in Berkshire County and across Massachusetts.

A new report titled, “The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition,” June 2005 was released by the Marijuana Policy Project to estimate the costs of marijuana prohibition in the United States. This report, created by Prof. Jeffery Miron, PhD, Visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard University is based on the report commission by DPFMA Dr. Miron completed in 2002. The 2005 analysis estimates that the United States spends $7.7 Billion per year enforcing marijuana prohibition at the federal, state and local levels. Specifically, Massachusetts spends $130 Million per year on police, court and incarceration costs for marijuana law offenders.

“The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on the Budgets of Massachusetts Governments, with a Discussion of Decriminalization’s Effect on Marijuana Use,” a report commission by the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts 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. Prof. Miron also establishes through comparative data analysis that decriminalization would not increase marijuana use in Massachusetts.

Pharmacy access for syringes

In Massachusetts injection drug use counts for nearly one-third of all new HIV/AIDS cases. Access to clean syringes through local pharmacies is one approach being supported by DPFMA and other statewide and national groups working on AIDS prevention currently in front of the Massachusetts legislature.

Massachusetts behind bars and in debt

More than 30% of Massachusetts state prisoners are serving time for a drug offense at the cost of $84 million. Massachusetts currently spends more on corrections then it does on education. DPFMA is working with other statewide groups on sentencing reform in the Massachusetts legislature.