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Summary

This proposed law would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties, to be enforced by issuing citations, and would exclude information regarding this civil offense from the state's criminal record information system. 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.

Offenders under 18 and their parents or legal guardian would be notified of the offense and the option for the offender to complete a drug awareness program developed by the state Department of Youth Services. Such programs would include ten hours of community service and at least four hours of instruction or group discussion concerning the use and abuse of marijuana and other drugs and emphasizing early detection and prevention of substance abuse.

The penalty for offenders under 18 who fail to complete such a program within one year could be increased to as much as $1,000, unless the offender showed an inability to pay, an inability to participate in such a program, or the unavailability of such a program. Such an offender's parents could also be held liable for the increased penalty. Failure by an offender under 17 to complete such a program could also be a basis for a delinquency proceeding.

The proposed law would define possession of one ounce or less of marijuana as including possession of one ounce or less of tetrahydrocannibinol ("THC"), or having metabolized products of marijuana or THC in one's body.

Under the proposed law, possessing an ounce or less of marijuana could not be grounds for state or local government entities imposing any other penalty, sanction, or disqualification, such as denying student financial aid, public housing, public financial assistance including unemployment benefits, the right to operate a motor vehicle, or the opportunity to serve as a foster or adoptive parent. The proposed law would allow local ordinances or bylaws that prohibit the public use of marijuana, and would not affect existing laws, practices, or policies concerning operating a motor vehicle or taking other actions while under the influence of marijuana, unlawful possession of prescription forms of marijuana, or selling, manufacturing, or trafficking in marijuana.

The money received from the new civil penalties would go to the city or town where the offense occurred.

A YES VOTE would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties.

A NO VOTE would make no change in state criminal laws concerning possession of marijuana.

2008 Nov 4 :: State of Massachusetts :: Question 2 :: Initiative PetitionDo you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives before May 6, 2008?

View as: # | %  
Ward
Yes
No
Blank Votes Total Votes Cast Total Ballots Cast
Totals
 
24,475
7,070
1,516
31,545
33,061
Precinct 1
 
655
267
69
922
991
Precinct 2
 
785
325
81
1,110
1,191
Precinct 3
 
569
273
92
842
934
Precinct 1
 
1,140
264
51
1,404
1,455
Precinct 2
 
1,413
279
70
1,692
1,762
Precinct 3
 
1,452
353
64
1,805
1,869
Precinct 1
 
1,191
328
95
1,519
1,614
Precinct 2
 
1,215
361
70
1,576
1,646
Precinct 3
 
1,420
329
83
1,749
1,832
Precinct 1
 
662
342
83
1,004
1,087
Precinct 2
 
760
312
93
1,072
1,165
Precinct 3
 
921
344
66
1,265
1,331
Precinct 1
 
1,287
385
80
1,672
1,752
Precinct 2
 
1,220
375
68
1,595
1,663
Precinct 3
 
1,582
378
75
1,960
2,035
Precinct 1
 
1,706
377
67
2,083
2,150
Precinct 2
 
1,641
352
73
1,993
2,066
Precinct 3
 
898
251
46
1,149
1,195
Precinct 1
 
1,598
398
44
1,996
2,040
Precinct 2
 
1,162
403
98
1,565
1,663
Precinct 3
 
1,198
374
48
1,572
1,620
Totals
 
24,475
7,070
1,516
31,545
33,061