Finally! The country is beginning to wake-up (at least in Massachusetts) and realize that possession of small amounts of marijuana is no worse than possession or use of alcohol, if that bad! In Massachusetts, the voters by a 65% to 35% margin passed a change to state law that only makes possession of marijuana a civil penalty with a $100.00 fine. There is no longer a criminal penalty, threat of jail, or threat to future job prospects attached to possession, if it is a small amount. Read the complete article here.
Under the marijuana decriminalization law, offenders who are caught with an ounce or less of marijuana get a ticket for a civil violation, but are not criminally charged. Juveniles have to pay the $100 fine and attend a drug abuse counseling course, or the fine will be increased to $1,000.
Further, it seems that law enforcement in Massachusetts is having difficulty with this change, not because they are wanting to arrest these small-time users / possessors, but because they do not have a way to force a person to identify themselves and they do not have a citation with the proper "checkbox" on it for this civil violation.
While the latter part of this sounds ludicrous to me (write it into the other box or ignore it), it also amazes me that Massachusetts does not have a law similar to that in Texas for Failing to Identify Oneself to a Police Officer:
Sec. 38.02. Failure to Identify.(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.(b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:(1) lawfully arrested the person;(2) lawfully detained the person; or
(3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense….
But, I am far from believing that Texas legislators will ever wake-up and pass a similar law. However, officers could stop wasting resources and making arrests for nominal amounts of pot, weed, maryjane, 420, or any other name you want to call the pretty green plant. I will remain hopeful that one day this will change, but for now, I realize we, as Texas residents, will still have to be careful of how we possess our pot and where we keep it, if you choose to do that… and no, I’m not recommending that anyone break the law!
However, as a parting thought, the picture below is one that I find entertaining but also quite true. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.