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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Massachusetts Gone To Pot? Police Won't Ticket Marijuana Users

AHN Staff

Boston, MA (AHN) - Police departments across the state of Massachusetts reportedly will not ticket people in possession of marijuana, even if they are caught smoking it.

Officials say a new law that decriminalizes having small amounts of "pot" makes it impossible to enforce penalties because it is poorly written.

"We're just basically not enforcing it right now," said Mark R. Laverdure, chief of police in Clinton, a Central Massachusetts town of about 8,000 residents, told the Boston Globe. "You'll probably have a lot of officers that, unless there's a caller complaining about it, won't even bother with it. They probably handled a lot of it informally before and probably more so now."

The new law, that passed the ballot in November with 65 percent approval dropped the fine to $100 with no criminal charges.

Under the previous law, possession of small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts was a criminal offense, with a possible fine of $500 and up to a six-month jail term.

Police say they have not received new ticket books to reflect the new law, nor do they have the ability to force users to show valid identity when questioning someone.