Ballot questions 2 and 3 tackle marijuana possession, dog racing

October 8, 2008

This Election Day, there is more to be determined then the next President of the United States.

Question

Massachusetts voters have three ballot questions to decide upon: Question 1 concerns the state income tax, and Questions 2 and 3 asks people to establish a stance on marijuana possession and dog racing. (We'll be writing more about Question 1 soon.)

Question 2 seeks to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, turning it into a civil offense. This will include being under the influence of the chemical tetrahydrocannibinol or THC. This does not change any other aspect of the law - selling marijuana or driving under the influence will still result in criminal charges.

Decriminalization will enforce fines for those cited with possession. The revenue will be given to the city where the offender was apprehended. An additional drug education program will be required for those under the age of 18 to prevent future or continuous drug abuse. This includes notifying parents and performing community service. Most notably, the civil offense will not be added to the state's criminal offender record information (CORI).

According to the Boston Workers Alliance, this initiative "will save the Commonwealth millions of dollars in police resources each year and end the unjust policy of saddling Massachusetts residents with a lifelong criminal record."

Question 3 hopes to eliminate dog racing for money or compensation. Offenders will be charged with fines of no less than $20,000 to be given to the State Racing Commission. The money will be used for the Commission's administrative purposes. This measure does not include the elimination of horse racing.

For more information on the ballot questions, see the Massachusetts Elections Division.