Home / #Solutions / State Crafts Radical Bill to Free Pot Users from Jail After Vote for Legal Weed — Cops are Furious

State Crafts Radical Bill to Free Pot Users from Jail After Vote for Legal Weed — Cops are Furious

Massachusetts was one of four states to legalize recreational cannabis at the ballot box Nov. 8, and some lawmakers are taking the cause of freedom even further. Sen. Jamie Eldridge is working to craft a bill that would free some of those in jail for cannabis possession and sales, as well as expunge their records.

We’ve approved medical marijuana, decriminalization and now legalization. It shows that the voters don’t believe the people who possess or sell marijuana should be in jail,” said Eldridge.”

He is working with the ACLU and the Union of Minority Neighborhoods (UMN) to have something in place for 2018, counting on the solid margin of public support for legalization to convince skeptical lawmakers.

We have to look at releasing folks who are in jail for marijuana crimes that are no longer crimes,” said UMN executive director Horace Small. “It’s only fair now that the prohibition is over to retroactively erase these records. Sometime in the next month or two we’ll have a piece of legislation.

Knowing there will be plenty of backlash from prohibitionists, Small says any prisoner releases would be on a case-by-case basis and will not include anyone with multiple drug offenses or linked to violence.

This doesn’t apply to someone working for a cartel or something,” said Small. “We need to look at what’s realistic and what’s over the top — there are a lot of conversations that we need to have.

Naturally, law enforcement is lashing out at the proposal, suggesting the interpretations of courts under old, now-negated laws should keep non-violent pot users locked in cages.

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It’s counterproductive and it undermines the judicial system,” said Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. “These lawmakers weren’t there for the facts of the case.

Having lost the authority to continue the war on pot, Hodgson is counting on federal government to impose its will under the new Trump administration.

I’m not sure this marijuana law won’t be repealed at some point,” said Hodgson. “Just because the marijuana law passed, it’s still a violation of federal law.

If Sen. Jeff Sessions, a rabid prohibitionist, gets to carry out his vision of justice as U.S. Attorney General, Hodgson may well get his wish.

Massachusetts law enforcement must be chafing at the legalization of cannabis, considering that the state ranks as one of the worst in the country for civil asset forfeiture — better known as policing for profit. Cannabis provided lots of opportunities for cops to steal cash and assets from innocent people, in order to pad their budgets and buy new militarized weaponry and surveillance gear.

According to the Institute for Justice, Massachusetts law enforcement seized “almost $139 million between 2000 and 2014, an average of about $9.3 million each fiscal year,” and “received $63.5 million in [federal] equitable sharing proceeds between 2000 and 2013, or $4.5 million per calendar year.”

Massachusetts cops only need probable cause “to believe that property was involved in a crime” to seize it from people who are never charged with a crime. Owners must prove their innocence through costly court and attorney fees to get their property back, and “agencies get to keep up to 100 percent of forfeiture proceeds, giving them considerable incentive to seize property.”

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Massachusetts cops have been raking in the dough through the war on drugs, so it will be interesting to see how cannabis legalization affects their profits.

Sen. Eldridge is surely taking inspiration from Gov. Peter Shumlin of neighboring Vermont, who recently pardoned 192 people for misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges.

Shumlin said in a statement:

My hope was to help as many individuals as I could overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it. Vermont should follow the many states that are legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana and put to an end the incredible failure that is the War on Drugs.

  • Jim Mooney

    More like Prison Industry and Big Pharma is against it and paying off police officials to do the Big Whine.

    • alexandra

      Prisons should not be privatized or at least not expected to be run for profit like hotel chains maximizing butts in beds while the pedophiles of power run free. They have a double standard when the elite use and traffic cannabis and cocaine themselves etc.. “poppy’ Bush ” wow what a nickname.. Biggest money launderers, news bias, evaders of taxation, human slavery, war for profit, child rape and pornography is the NWO. Big Pharma tamper with everything so as to claim a patent on everything. I remember once taking a God awful Spirit airline flight and the flight attendant announced just after more pathetic sneaky price increases ” soon we will be charging you for the air you breath on the plane and our smiles!”. Will be very interested on how Trump wades this mine field.

      • Blaine

        I fail to see where it is even legal to operate a “private prison”. The State cannot grant individuals the power to imprison others, only the State has that authority. What’s next, privately run court systems?

        Hell, for the 30,000 – 60,000 it costs to lock someone up, everybody should get a crack at keeping a prisoner in their home as long as they can provide mandated services – keeping in mind most private prisons fail to provide all mandated services. It would be a great way for retirees to fund their retirement.

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    • Zackknowitall

      If more people killed cops over victimless arrest and ticket in schemes do you think they will stop?

      • Vincent D’Emidio

        Most cops are COWARDS, who are afraid of people shooting back, so I think that they’ll do the right thing and surrender.

      • billdeserthills

        I don’t know, but it’s certainly well worth a try!!

  • shad182

    Never liked weed, but also never liked putting children in jail for it either, (where they can learn to be real criminals). What’s wrong with this country?

  • MrRetloc

    It is about time calmer heads take control of a truly abysmal failure that is the so-called war on drugs. The only backers left are big pharma and a corrupt enforcement system (cops to judges) whose main concern is theft of personal property and rights.

  • Someone needs to get them a tissue for their issue! I can hear them all right now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xRrUVVKigk

  • Who would have thought freedom works?

    7/05/2011 Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

    Jul 19, 2012 What Happened When Portugal Decriminalized *ALL* Drugs?

    “The government in Portugal has no plans to back down. Although the Netherlands is the European country most associated with liberal drug laws, it has already been ten years since Portugal became the first European nation to take the brave step of decriminalizing possession of all drugs within its borders—from marijuana to heroin, and everything in between.

    https://youtu.be/unu-sbtp65A

  • doucyet

    If pot was legalized in that state, then yes…………….set them free!

  • IceTrey

    There are no good cops.

    • billdeserthills

      Dead cops have never offended me

  • No more stealing people’s assets and selling them and throwing them in jail for pot makes the police, very, very angry.

    Not to mention Big Pharma.

  • Aug 21, 2016 Just Say No: Don’t Federalize Local Police!

    Some people want you to think that the solution to problems with police is to get the federal government more involved. But they’ve got things completely backwards.

    https://youtu.be/H0euUoxPIp8

  • June 16, 2016 Supreme Court Ruling: Police Have No Duty to Protect the General Public

    However, did you know that the government, and specifically law enforcement, does not have any duty to protect the general public? Based on the headline and this information, you might assume this is a new, landmark decision. However, it has long been the court’s stance that, essentially, the American people are responsible for taking case of their own personal safety.

    http://tribunist.com/news/supreme-court-ruling-police-have-no-duty-to-protect-the-general-public/

  • Brett Rapley

    How come a Massachusetts cop only needs probable cause “to believe that property was involved in a crime” to seize it from people who are never charged with a crime. When they have no actual proof of this happening ? That is a load of bollocks. If they can actually prove it, then I accept that assets should be seized, but not for it to be given to the cops, it should go to something worthwhile. Or, as per usual, do the cops forget who actually pays their salaries, the people of America ? They are there to uphold the law not make it. Lawmakers are the ones who have that position. It’s about time, America got this shit sorted out and grew the hell up.

  • Ed

    Hey Hodgson, shut up and get your ass back to – “I’m just doing my job”. Psychopath.