Marijuana Decriminalization in Massachusetts


A marijuana decriminalization initiative has qualified for November's ballot in Massachusetts. The initiative would make possession of up to an ounce, currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, a civil offense with a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Pot smokers could not be arrested or jailed, and they would not have criminal records, which trigger ancillary penalties that can be far more onerous than the official punishment. NORML reports that a recent poll found supporters of the initiative outnumber opponents by 2 to 1.

Here is the website for the initiative campaign (known as the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy), which is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project. Last fall I noted an argument among reformers about the initiative's potential impact.