The trend in the United States in the last couple of decades has been to lower penalties for marijuana possession. That was the case with the State of Massachusetts, which decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of marijuana four years ago. According to Massachusetts state law, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $100. However, this has not stopped some municipalities from going rogue and raising the penalties. The good news is, not of them are requiring jail time. But the bad news is, some municipalities are charging as much as four times the state requires. Below are some excerpts from an article that I read on the matter, via WickedLocal.Com:
“Just this week, Holliston Police Chief John Moore proposed adding a $300 fine for public use of marijuana.
Ashland, Bellingham and Marlborough are among the communities with higher fines for smoking in public.
“It’s to prevent people from standing outside on the street smoking weed,” said Marlborough Sgt. Richard Gaudette.
Gaudette said most are charged $400, but a person can be charged only $300 if they smell like pot but aren’t found to have any on them.
“It doesn’t say that they can’t write their own bylaws and ordinances that would regulate its consumption,” said Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Sa fety.
One supporter of the decriminalization law said it doesn’t make sense to let cities and towns add extra penalties to the marijuana fine. “Increasing punishments for small amounts of marijuana by adding a new civil fine for the use of small amounts of marijuana does indeed go against the basic intent of the new law,” said Chris Robarge, the central Massachusetts field coordinator for the ACLU of Massachusetts.”
One thing about the article is the part where the police Sgt. is talking about ‘a person can be charged only $300 if they smell like pot but aren’t found to have any on them.’ What if there is a skunk around? What if the subjective inference of the officer is incorrect, because after all, just because I say it smells like something doesn’t mean other people think the same thing. Just another example of how some law enforcement officers will do anything they can to impose their views on the society they were sworn to protect…