Pubdate: Wed, 15 Feb 2006
Source: Daily News Tribune (Waltham, MA)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily News Tribune
Author:  Emelie Rutherford
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


NATICK -- Gubernatorial candidate Thomas Reilly yesterday criticized 
a bill that would let people smoke marijuana without facing jail 
time. The proposal,  which would change the penalty for possessing 
less than an ounce of marijuana to  a $250 fine, was censured by 
Reilly after a visit to Natick 's senior center.

"That's the wrong  message to send to our kids," the attorney general 
told the press. "We have to  keep them out of drugs."

Currently, if  someone is convicted of having that amount of 
marijuana he or she can be sent to  jail up to six months and pay a 
$500 fine. The bill was approved by the joint  House and Senate 
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee on Monday.

State Rep. David  Linsky, D-Natick, said he had "to take a hard look" 
at the bill before stating  his position on it.

"I'm not sure the  bill will get to the floor," said Linsky. Linsky 
and state  Rep. Alice Peisch, D-Wellesley, attended the talk Reilly 
gave to Natick seniors  yesterday morning.

Peisch said she  is not in favor of the proposal with the information 
given about it so far, but  that she will decide on the issue when 
the bill comes in front of the Judiciary  Committee.

After Reilly  talked to seniors and town officials, the attorney 
general did not directly  address the questions reporters asked him 
about recent controversy surrounding  his gubernatorial campaign. 
Reilly was in the  spotlight two weeks ago after his running mate, 
state Rep. Marie St. Fleur,  admitted to having delinquent tax debts. 
When asked  whether he plans to change his campaign because of the 
St. Fleur fiasco, Reilly  said the focus of his campaign is on issues 
that really matter to voters. "Things like  economy, education, 
creating jobs or fixing the health care system are the  things that 
will decide this election," said Reilly. "That is what voters 
really  care about and that's the focus of the campaign." The 
attorney  general also was asked about the criticism of his statement 
- -- "politics is not  my strong suit" - after St. Fleur's tax problem 
was made public. "My focus right  now is to do my job, like coming 
here and talking about how to prevent identity  theft. That's what I 
am doing right now," Reilly said. The candidate for  governor also 
said he has a lot of respect for Chris Gabrieli, the Democrat  whose 
backers now are pushing him to run for governor. Reilly originally 
was  expected to name Gabrieli to be his running mate but dropped 
Gabrieli from consideration to name St. Fleur. "Everyone has 
an  opportunity to run," Reilly said of Gabrieli. "We still have a 
long way to go on this campaign."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom