McCormack Among Senators Sponsoring Marijuana Bill

January 27, 2013

in News

On Wednesday, a group of nine state Senators introduced a bill that, if passed, would change the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil charge. Those under 21 would face the same charges that they would if in possession of alcohol. The sponsors of the bill are Senator Tim Ashe, D-Chittenden, Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, Sen. Ann Cummings, D-Washington, Sen. Sally Fox, D-Chittenden, Sen. Dick McCormack, D-Windsor, Sen. Anthony Pollina, P/D-Washington, Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, and David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden


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Malcolm Kyle January 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

“In the United States, drug arrests have tripled in the last 25 years, however most of these arrests have been for simple possession of low-level drugs. In 2005, nearly 43% of all drug arrests were for marijuana offenses. Marijuana possession arrests accounted for 79% of the growth in drug arrests in the 1990s. Nearly a half million people are in state or federal prisons or a local jail for a drug offense, compared to 41,000 in 1980. Most of these people have no history of violence or high-level drug selling activity” – page 4

“With over 5 million people on probation or parole in the United States, drug use on parole or probation has become the primary basis by which thousands of people are returned to prison. These technical violations of parole or probation account for as many as 40% of new prison admissions in some jurisdictions.” – page 6


“The war on drugs has also generated indirect costs that many researchers contend have undermined public safety. The federal government has prioritized spending and grants for drug task forces and widespread drug interdiction efforts that often target low-level drug dealing. These highly organized and coordinated efforts have been very labor intensive for local law enforcement agencies with some unanticipated consequences for investigation of other crimes. The focus on drugs is believed to have redirected law enforcement resources that have resulted in more drunk driving, and decreased investigation and enforcement of violent crime laws. In Illinois, a 47% increase in drug arrests corresponded with a 22% decrease in arrests for drunk driving. Florida researchers have similarly linked the focus on low level drug arrests with an increase in the serious crime index.”

–Drug Policy, Criminal Justice and Mass Imprisonment, by Bryan Stevenson

Mike Parent January 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Better yet, legalize and regulate marijuana as we do alcohol, the model is in place, including the repeal of prohibition.

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