Massachusetts law enforcement officials are uniting against a referendum question they fear will increase marijuana use among teenagers and generate more crime across the state, reports the Boston Globe. The issue is Question 2, which would place civil instead of criminal penalties on adults possessing an ounce or less of marijuana. The state’s 11 district attorneys unanimously oppose Question 2 and are being joined by police chiefs and some community groups, fearing it will undo years of effort to reduce drug use among teenagers. Governor Deval Patrick’s administration also is opposed.
Supporters of Question 2, organized under the name Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, are striking back. Today, they plan to announce that they have applied for criminal complaints against some district attorneys for alleged campaign law violations. Whitney Taylor, the advocates’ group director, said that if Question 2 passes, marijuana will still be illegal. She said the new approach will increase parental involvement in marijuana cases for those under 18 years old because police will be required to notify parents about the civil matter. She said those under 18 must complete drug awareness training and do 10 hours of community service.