Pubdate: Fri, 31 Oct 2008
Source: Metro Boston (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Metro International
Author: Greg St. Martin
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Police Speak Out Against Ballot Question No. 2 As Vote Draws Near 
What Saying 'Yes' Means

If the ballot initiative passes, adults caught with less than an 
ounce of marijuana would pay a $100 fine. Offenders under 18 years 
old would be required to hand over the marijuana, pay the same fine 
and complete a drug awareness program.

With Election Day right around the corner, opponents of a ballot 
question that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of 
marijuana are turning up the heat, while supporters are hoping their 
dwindling lead in recent polls can hold on for a few more days.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Suffolk County District 
Attorney Daniel Conley spoke Thursday in opposition of the measure, 
saying it sends a message that Massachusetts is soft on drug crimes.

"If drug possession is treated like a traffic violation, there will 
be an increase in marijuana use and sales in our community," they 
said in a statement. A group of Hub ministers have also urged clergy 
from across the state to plead with churchgoers on Sunday to vote 'no.'

Meanwhile, advocates of Question 2 on Thursday picked up an 
endorsement from the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, which argued 
the current law causes offenders to have a lifelong criminal record 
and hurts their job prospects.

Supporters also say the measure would save the state money in 
prosecuting those cases.

A Suffolk University/WHDH poll found last week that 51 percent of 
those surveyed supported the ballot question, while 32 percent 
opposed it, and 16 percent were undecided. However, that 19 percent 
margin has narrowed considerably since a similar poll in August, when 
supporters enjoyed a 50 percent lead.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom