Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2005
Source: Stoneham Sun (MA)
Copyright: 2005 Stoneham Sun
Author: Steven  Epstein


Officer Rotondi is a thunderer. Marijuana has not been proven to
cause the myriad of harms he  writes it may cause; nor has its use
begun at earlier ages than in the  past; nor is marijuana's use
inexorably followed by use of other illicit drugs,  until the
individual moves on to madness. Far and away the worst thing that
happens to most adolescent marijuana users is that they are caught by
the police  and given permanent criminal records. Since 2000,  over 63
percent of the voters in 25 house and three senate districts around
the  state have instructed their political representative to reform
the marijuana  laws by making possession of marijuana a civil
violation, subject only to a  fine. In five of these house districts
and two of the senate districts, no per  se weight nor amount of the
fine was stated, but voters favored requiring police  to hold a person
under 18 cited for possession until the person is released to a
parent or legal guardian or brought before a judge.

The majority of voters realize parents are  the best protection
against adolescent drug abuse. The majority recognize it is  time we
stopped handcuffing people for marijuana possession. They know it will
 conserve police and other public resources. The yes votes are calls
for a return  to the common law of arrest when the offense is
marijuana possession, which by  only the greatest stretch of the
imagination can be considered by itself to be a  breach of the peace.

Thunderers fail to  see that current law reduces neither supply nor
demand. Anyone who wants  marijuana can get it. According to U.S.
government surveys, about 50 percent of  adults have tried marijuana
at least once, most never tried any other illicit  drug. Almost all
are good people. Some are politicians.

Steven  Epstein

Editor's  note: Epstein is an attorney and spokesman for Massachusetts
Cannabis Reform Coalition/NORMAL