Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, says the Boston Globe. It makes getting caught with under an ounce of pot punishable by a civil fine of $100. The change means someone found carrying dozens of joints will no longer be reported to the state’s criminal history board. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, proposition was ahead 65 to 35 percent. “The people were ahead of the politicians on this issue; they recognize and want a more sensible approach to our marijuana policy,” said Whitney Taylor, chairwoman of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy.
“The administration [of Gov. Deval Patrick] is clear in its opposition to the decriminalization of marijuana, and we are concerned about the effects of ballot Question 2’s passage,” said Kevin Burke, secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Proponents of the initiative, who spent $1 million promoting it, argued that it would maintain the state’s existing penalties for growing, trafficking, or driving under the influence of marijuana. Opponents include the governor, attorney general, and district attorneys around the state.