Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Question 2 seeks to replace criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties, to be enforced by issuing citations. The new system would exclude information regarding this civil offense from the state’s criminal record information system (CORI). Offenders age 18 or older would be subject to forfeiture of the marijuana plus a civil penalty of $100. Offenders under the age of 18 would be subject to the same forfeiture and, if they complete a drug awareness program within one year of the offense, the same $100 penalty.
Proponents of Question 2 say changing the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana would free police up to focus on serious crimes, rather than arresting 7,500 people annually for marijuana possession. Taxpayers would save $30 million a year in arrest costs.
“Question 2 would not increase marijuana use,” said Whitney A. Taylor, campaign manager for the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy. “Eleven other states have similar laws and have shown no increase in marijuana use.”
Opponents include most law enforcement agencies.
“Marijuana decriminalization is an endorsement of substance abuse and dangerous criminal activity, and sends the wrong message to young people,” said Michael O’Keefe, district attorney for the Cape and Islands, and president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.
Here are 2 former law enforcement officials that are voting YES ON 2;