Question 2 poses no threat

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The front page article in the Sept. 18 Eagle notes "Marijuana proponents take on state attorneys." This startling article revealed that the so-called "Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy" filed 14 complaints, claiming that the commonwealth's district attorneys and their organization, the Massachusetts District Attorney's Association, wantonly broke laws in their efforts to derail the "Yes on Question 2 campaign" to decriminalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

Small wonder. The commonwealth spent $29.5 million in arrests and booking of 7,500 people last year for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana. And that's just in Massachusetts. Those arrested have a CORI report that haunts them for the rest of their lives (even if records are "sealed," that can be more harmful than unsealed records. For the rest of their lives, those convicted for possessing even a tiny bit of marijuana, as it stands today, cannot ever obtain certain loans, attend certain schools, get certain mortgages. Their lives are forever restricted.

For what? A small bit of marijuana. A drug less harmful, in fact, than alcohol.

The fight is about Question 2 on the November ballot, where possession of less than one ounce would be reclassified as a civil not a criminal offense, thus saving lots of kids from undeserved CORI reports that could ruin their lives. Plus untold hours of wasted crime fighters time pursuing pussy cats instead of hardened criminals. Not to mention the $29.5 million spent in the pursuit of these so called perps.

You should know that our DA's have hired a big, powerful PR firm, headed by Tip O'Neill's son. You know, Tip O'Neill, the consummate politician. Ask yourself, why, when in fact Question 2 is talking about less than one ounce of marijuana, a benign drug. Then ask yourself to "follow the money."

Please note that under Proposition 2, the laws against selling, trafficking or growing the drug remain untouched. When passed, Proposition 2 will greatly free-up police officers and DA's to fight violent and serious crimes.

Let me tell you a little something about marijuana. Marijuana users don't kill. Marijuana is a benign drug. Nobody smokes marijuana then jumps in a car and drives 90 miles an hour, goes home and beats up his wife. He is more likely to do so on booze. Or coke. Or crack. Or crank. Not on marijuana. On marijuana he might jump on the couch with a bag of chips and ice cream, or jump into bed to take a nap.

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Is marijuana a "gateway drug"? These are gateway drugs. Booze. Beer. Cigarettes. Permissive parents. Otherwise my having ridden two-wheel bicycles should have led me to riding motorcycles. So stop with that nonsense.

Do you have any idea how many teenagers lives have been ruined by an arrest for small amounts of marijuana? DA's gave them life-long criminal records after arrest — for what good? Our police officers need to be redirected to the real problem: hard drugs. These folks are good, hard-working officers. They just need redirection and lots of support.

You may be asking, who among us supports Question 2, the decriminalizing of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana? Who is standing up to be counted in the face of DA wrath? Among them are:

Attorney Charles H. Baron, Boston College School of Law; Sergeant Howard Donohue, 33 year veteran of the Boston Police Department; John H. Halpern, M.D., Associate Professor, psychology, Harvard Medical School; Karen Klein, Brandeis University; Dr. Robert Meenan, Dean, Boston University School of Public Health; Lieutenant Thomas Nolan, 30 year veteran, Boston Police Department (now teaching criminology, Boston University); MA State Representative Frank Smizik (D-15th, Norfolk); Attorney Ernest (Tony) Windsor, MA Law Reform Institute; and thousands of other distinguished citizens who do not make money by throwing kids in the slammer.

By the way, 11 states have laws similar to Question 2 and have had no increase in marijuana users or increase in crime. They include our northeast neighbors of Maine and New York.

Help protect our kids. Get involved. Do more than just to vote yes on Question 2. Write letters to the editor of the Eagle, talk to your neighbors, your clergy, fellow workers. Volunteer to help. Contact Whitney Taylor, Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, (617) 901-7765.

Peter Martin is an occasional Eagle contributor.


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