Small Amounts Of Pot No Longer Criminal
New Law Takes Effect
POSTED: 10:13 am EST January 2, 2009
UPDATED: 6:19 pm EST January
BOSTON -- A new state law that says it is no longer a
criminal offense in Massachusetts to possess a small amount of marijuana went
into effect on Friday.
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A referendum, approved by voters in November,
makes possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a civil offense with a $100
Existing laws that prohibit distributing marijuana or operating a
motor vehicle under its influence remain unchanged.
Supporters of the law
say it will spare thousands from having a criminal record, which can make it
harder to get a job, student loan or gain access to public housing. They also
said it will save taxpayers $30 million in costs associated with marijuana
But critics said marijuana is a gateway drug and the law could lead
to more drug use among young people.
Under the new law, anyone under 18
caught with an ounce or less of marijuana must complete a drug awareness course
or face a $1,000 fine. Parents or legal guardians will also be notified.
the law takes effect, state officials are urging cities and towns to ban public
pot smoking, similar to public drinking ordinances.
Massachusetts is the
12th state in the country to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of
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Well, at least Mass. is on the right path. Someday maybe we will all come to our senses and stop persecuting people for their lifestyle choices and stop forcing our morals down everyones throats. Maybe.