US Marijuana Party

Monday, June 27, 2005

Pot decriminalizing measure up for debate

By Jon Brodkin
Milford Daily News
Monday, June 27, 2005

PA - Lawmakers on Beacon Hill today will debate a proposal to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, a measure advocates say would save the state at least $24 million a year and prevent pot smokers from losing government student loans and scholarships.

The bill, filed in the Senate, would make marijuana possession a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

"As far as public opinion is concerned, this should pass," said Whitney Taylor, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts. "Voters are way ahead of the politicians on this."

Voters in six legislative districts approved nonbinding measures in favor of marijuana decriminalization last November, according to the Drug Policy Forum. Since 2000, there have been 36 ballot questions regarding decriminalization, medical marijuana and marijuana taxation and regulation, and voters approved every one, the group said.

But the bill being debated today has been around six years without being implemented, and lawmakers are reluctant to pass it.


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