Monday, January 5, 2009

First Marijuana Citation in Massachusetts

The Boston Globe reports on the first citation issued for possession of marijuana since the voters decided it should be decriminalized. This particular case involved other drugs, however.

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?


  1. I voted for this law. I'll vote again when they propose it to be all-out legal.

    I really don't care about the "Message" as if the offender's parents are uninvolved then they won't get the right message no matter what (at least the counseling and their name in the system might be a good start to getting them help if they need it)

    In the end Mass has a problem with harder drugs like Meth, Crack, Oxies and Heroin, et al (and these drugs have far more of an impact on individuals, so as much as I personally don't care what a person does on their own time on their own property I can't in good conscience propose THEY become legal) as well as gangs. We don't need the cops wasting their time chasing down hippies and Rastas smoking a little weed.

  2. I always enjoyed asking people to explain how possession of as much alcohol as a person could afford was okay, but the possession of less then an ounce of marijuana wasn't?

    I am very libertarian in my outlook, don't criminalize the mere possession, but the effects. If someone is driving erratically, they are a danger no matter what drug is effecting them. If someone is being a nuisance in public, does it matter if they are drunk or stoned? Criminalize the behavior, not the reason.

  3. It is a good start, but doesn't go far enough to address some of the significant issues. As long as selling and related activities is still illegal, use still supports criminal activity, even if the users are not considered criminals.

  4. Plus it doesn't let us tax the shit out of it!

    I want my property taxes lower...and I'd LOVE to have income tax disolved here (That was also on the same ballot and it was CRUSHED sad) I'm sure people who love their weed would be willing to foot the bill.

    I'm willing to pay a little more for my Single-Malts and my Barrel-Proofs...