Pubdate: Thu, 18 Nov 2004
Source: Marblehead Reporter (MA)
Copyright: 2004 CommunitysNewspapers, Inc.
Author: Steven S.  Epstein


Thank you North Shore voters for instructing  Mr. Berry and Mr. McGee
to introduce and vote for legislation 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. Your  yes vote is a call
for a return to the common law of arrest when the offense is
marijuana possession, which by only the greatest stretch of the
imagination can  be considered by itself to be a breach of the peace.
If enacted  by the Legislature, it will conserve first responders
time. The proposed policy  also conserves prosecutorial, public
counsel and judicial resources. The cost of  current policy to just
first-responder budgets is estimated at over $24 million  a year.

It gives  back to cities and towns, as with traffic tickets in
general, one half of the  fines collected on citations issued in the
town. During the  campaign you heard from thunderers, as
conservative icon William F. Buckley  calls them, who said we must
stay the course and continue to criminally  prosecute some 12,000 or
more people each year in order to show societal  disapproval or else
marijuana use will increase and become more available. Well, it is
clear that current law reduces neither supply nor demand. Anyone who
wants  marijuana can get it.

Close to 50  percent of you have tried marijuana at least once in your
lifetimes. Most of you  never tried any other illicit drug. Almost all
are of you are good people. Some  of you are politicians.

Please call  Mr. Berry and Mr. McGee and ask them to follow the
instructions you have given  them.

Steven S.  Epstein, Esq. Treasurer Massachusetts  Cannabis Reform
Coalition/NORML A state  affiliate of the National Organization for
the Reform of Marijuana Laws
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin