Vote YES on Question 2 on November 4, 2008 to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana...
On November 4, 2008, Massachusetts voters will have the chance to pass a ballot initiative decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana — removing the threat of jail time for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use. This initiative — which will officially appear as Question 2 on the November ballot — would save the commonwealth millions of dollars in law enforcement resources each year.
According to a recent independent poll, 71% of Bay Staters support Question 2's passage, and public endorsements have come from prominent figures like the former first attorney general, veteran law enforcement officers, and Boston University's dean of the School of Public Health.
Under current Massachusetts law, people arrested for simple possession of any amount of marijuana can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
In addition, if a person is arrested for marijuana possession, regardless of the amount, a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) report is generated — a black mark on his or her record that lingers long after the minor offense and jeopardizes the person's ability to obtain jobs, housing, and school loans. There are about 2.8 million CORI records on file — in a state with a population of six million!
By passing Question 2, we can put an end to these unjust and costly policies.
What would Massachusetts’ marijuana decriminalization initiative do?
- Amend the current criminal statutes so that adults possessing an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use would be charged with a civil infraction and fined.
- Remove the threat of a CORI report for minor marijuana possession charges.
- Maintain current penalties for selling, growing, and trafficking marijuana, as well as the prohibition against driving under the influence of marijuana.
- Save Massachusetts approximately $29.5 million per year in law enforcement resources that are currently wasted on low-level marijuana possession arrests, according to a 2008 report by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.
Read the Official Ballot Summary prepared by the Massachusetts’ attorney general.
Read the full text of the initiative.