In 2008, it was time for marijuana reform, but not in the manner in which reform had come in years past. A new committee was formed, this one advocating the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and for diminishing the severe, life-altering consequences given to those found to be in possession of the drug. As it stands today, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic, the same category as heroin and cocaine. The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy made changes to the consequences that took effect in January 2009.
The Committee is supported by many different organizations, who also felt the punishment for a marijuana conviction was too severe. The change first occurred in Boston, but has now been established by many different states and communities, at their own discretion. The Committee gathered over 100,000 signatures in a petition that helped reduce these penalties. Now, instead of a penalty of up to six months in jail, those who are found in possession of marijuana are not charged criminally, but instead it is considered a civil matter. A fine of $100 is paid if found guilty, and the money raised is used for various community programs throughout the Boston area.
As mentioned, there is a long list of organizations that support the committee fully. Those organizations include:
· Criminal Justice Policy Coalition
· National Association of Social Workers
· Union of Minority Neighborhoods
· Marijuana Policy Project
There are dozens of other organizations that support the committee and the efforts they are putting forth to abolish the severe consequences of a conviction. There’s even hospitals, doctors, religious leaders, journalists, and others that support the organization. And, of course, those who consume marijuana are definitely excited that changes are coming their way.
Over the years as more marijuana research has taken place, many people are understanding that it is a plant far more beneficial than harmful. They understand that it has medicinal properties and is now used across the country to treat a variety of conditions and health concerns. And so, the time for change had come. With so much evidence in support of marijuana benefits, the committee felt assured of their decision, and come out on top as the result of that decision. People support the use of marijuana more than they do not these days and these changes ensure fairness throughout the area and elsewhere, too.
The Committee does not receive any type of compensation for the work they do. They are simply marijuana and criminal advocates who believe in fairness and equality, and who felt the punishments were too severe. Someone caught in possession of a small amount of marijuana could go to jail, lose their job, pay excessive fines of up to $1000, and face a tarnished record for the remainder of their lives. Now that has changed, and so many are thankful for the committee and the great accomplishments they are making toward marijuana legalization.