Marijuana Advocates Collect Enough Signatures to Reform Possession Laws

In Massachusetts, a marijuana advocate group, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, has been pushing to make it legal for those over the age of 21 to possess just one ounce of marijuana. The 2016 campaign has received major support on the front to decriminalize marijuana possession and place a tax on it in a similar way to alcohol. If the ballot is passed, there will be a push for at least a 3.75% excise tax on any sales.

At this time, the group has collected more than 25,000 signatures—exceeding the required 10, 792 signatures—for inclusion on this November’s ballot. Typically, advocates group are encouraged to collect more than the recommended number, to avoid any duplicates or safeguard signatures that might not be permissible.

Several legislators, including the Republic Governor Charlie Baker as well as the Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, are just some of the officials who do not support the bill.

Current Marijuana Possession Laws

Marijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution are all separate crimes. The penalties for these will depend on the circumstances, such as the amount in possession, the individual’s motives, the location, and any other factors that may be considered admissible evidence in trial.

The current laws in Massachusetts penalize someone for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Typically, the sanction will be a fine of $100. Minors who are found to be in possession of marijuana may be required to complete four hours of a drug counseling program and at least 10 hours of community service. If the minor fails to adhere to their punishment, the courts may issue a fine of $1,000.

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