A Holyoke man could be the first person in Massachusetts cited for possession of marijuana, an action that lost its criminal status Friday because voters approved a decriminalization referendum in November. However, 29-year-old Jose Burgos could still face prison time on charges of trafficking cocaine and possession of a Class A substance with intent to distribute.
I find it a bit funny that the first guy to "benefit" from the new law won't benefit at all. The actual practical application of the law is yet to be worked out. In theory it'll be much like a traffic citation.
Sergeant Richard Perry of the Bellingham Police Department said officers expect to issue tickets for possession, but have not worked out the logistics.
"I can tell you that they're working on how we would fine the person," Perry said. "So right now it would be pretty much the way most departments are handling it: We'd confiscate [the marijuana] and identify the person and send them on their way."Under the marijuana decriminalization law, offenders who are caught with an ounce or less of marijuana get a ticket for a civil violation, but are not criminally charged. Juveniles have to pay the $100 fine and attend a drug abuse counseling course, or the fine will be increased to $1,000.
What do you think about that? Should we be concerned that it sends the wrong message to young people? What about other drugs? If they are in small enough quantities to indicate personal use, shouldn't they be handled this way too? What about out and out legalization? Wouldn't that allow for better control and taxation? We talked about that before.
What's your opinion?