Thursday, January 29, 2009

Massachusetts: Help monitor local implementation of Question 2

It seems some anti-pot smoking repubs want to make an additional fine for smoking marijuana in public!  Since passage of the Question 2 law, there hasn’t been a problem with people smoking pot in public! I live in Mass. and I would’ve heard about it! Many feel that it would be asking for $100 fine and who needs another expense?

No more fines Massachusetts!  Let’s make it profitable for the state tax coiffeurs!  Make it legal!  Then you can tax it!  Consumers can buy marijuana knowing that is 100% cannabis and not laced with something they never wanted to try or use! 

Anyway, let’s make it legal and make a profit!  Please try to help by attending a meeting and standing up for what you believe in.  I’m going to try to attend.  I hope you will too!


Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana Policy Project Alert
January 29, 2009

Mass.: Help monitor local implementation of Question 2

Dear Pamela:

Now that Question 2 is law, some localities are considering whether to create an additional penalty for the public use of marijuana. Methuen, Quincy, Everett, Springfield, and Braintree are all expected to discuss and possibly vote on this issue next week.

Question 2 made the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts a $100 civil fine, but left it up to localities to decide whether or not to create an additional penalty for smoking marijuana in public. Despite the fact that there haven't been reports of widespread public marijuana smoking, and that Question 2's $100 fine and seizure of marijuana is already an effective deterrent, several localities across the state are scheduling public meetings on the issue of public use.

If you hear about such a meeting where you live, we encourage you take part in the democratic process and attend. Please let us know when you learn of a meeting by sending details (including date and time) to

The Attorney General has provided a sample ordinance that localities can use if they decide to spend their time and energy on this non-issue. The Attorney General's sample ordinance clearly states that towns may go the route of "noncriminal disposition pursuant to G.L. c. 40, § 21D." The sample ordinance suggests a $300 fine for using marijuana in a public place, which is significantly higher than most cities' penalties for drinking alcohol in public.

Unlike a criminal disposition, a noncriminal disposition for public marijuana use under Massachusetts law would not require an arrest or any other interaction with the court system unless an individual contests the citation or fails to pay the fine on time. As is, Question 2 means that law enforcement, judicial, and correctional resources will not be wasted on what is essentially a public nuisance offense.

Local and state officials should give Question 2 time to work before jumping the gun and passing more laws on top of a new voter-approved law that a few naysayers have already claimed is too hard for them to understand. This is only an issue in the minds of a few drug warriors who wish to impose their beliefs at the local level after suffering an embarrassing loss at the state level.

Local leaders considering public use ordinances should be reminded that one of the main reasons 65% of Massachusetts voters approved Question 2 is because it is estimated to save taxpayers approximately $29.5 million a year in law enforcement resources alone. If they are considering imposing criminal penalties, they should be told that making the public use of marijuana an arrestable offense would involve every level of the criminal justice system, thereby undermining one of the very purposes of Question 2. Local leaders should also be reminded that nearly 2 million Massachusetts voters supported the general intent of Question 2, which was to keep marijuana users out of jail.

Chances are, you live in a place that voted overwhelmingly in favor of Question 2. To find out what percentage of voters from your district approved Question 2, click here and scroll over the area of the map where you live — you might see a number that should be brought to the attention of your local leaders.

If you attend one of these public meetings, we'd love to hear how it went. Please send us any feedback, comments, or concerns you have regarding how your community is implementing Question 2.

Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. Please share this alert with others in your area who may be interested in getting more involved with making sure Question 2 is implemented in a manner consistent with the intent of Question 2 and the will of the voters.


Nathan Miller
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project


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