Families in Action
Guide to Drug-Related State Ballot Initiatives
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Massachusetts Petition P
An Act to Expand the Scope of the
Commonwealth's Drug Treatment Program and Provide Funding Through Fines
for Drug Violations and the Forfeiture of Assets Used in Connection with
for Fair Treatment
(Formerly Committee for Forfeiture Reform)
(A Subsidiary of Campaign for New Drug Policies)
Thomas R. Kiley
The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition
Main South Alliance
for Public Safety
Establishes a separate Massachusetts Drug Treatment
Trust Fund to be administered and used by the commissioner of public health.
Money for the Trust Fund to come from all “fines paid under the state’s
criminal drug laws, money forfeited because of its use in connection with
drug crimes, and the proceeds from selling property forfeited because
of its use in connection with drug crimes.”
Summary of No. 99-10)
Redefines a “drug dependent person” as a person
who is dependent on drugs or “at risk of becoming drug dependent.”
Alcohol is specifically exempted: no money from the Drug Treatment
Trust Fund may be used to treat alcohol dependence.
All “persons charged with a first or second offense of manufacturing,
distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance, or possessing a controlled
substance with the intent to do any of those things, or trafficking 14
to 28 grams of cocaine” may request that the court place them in drug-treatment
or drug-education programs rather than prison.
Upon successful completion of a program, criminal charges will
(Massachusetts Summary of No. 99-10)
Makes forfeitures of money and property used in connection with a drug
crime more difficult to obtain.
Mandates that all forfeited property be sold and that all proceeds from
such sales and all forfeited money be diverted from law enforcement to
the Drug Treatment Trust Fund.
What Proponents Say
Proponents say Petition
P will provide treatment instead of jail for non-violent drug offenders
and make it more difficult for authorities to seize property from them.
One of the authors of the petition, Thomas R. Kiley, describes it as “the
first step toward ending a failed war on drugs that has taken too many
innocent lives and too many assets in ways that seem un-American. . .We’re
convinced there’s a better way.”
(Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 2/25/00)
Opponents say Petition
P will allow drug dealers to escape prosecution and jail by giving them
a loophole to declare they are drug dependent or are in danger of becoming
drug dependent and will allow them to keep the money and property they
acquire through illegal drug trafficking.
“‘One of the best ways to put a drug dealer out of business is to take
what they use for resources,’ said Middlesex District Attorney Martha
(The Boston Herald 6/7/00)
Plymouth District Attorney Michael Sullivan said
the prosecutors support expanded treatment but the initiative gives dealers
a loophole by allowing judges discretion in sentencing if they claim to
be addicts. ‘Drug dealers
have the assets and they’re going to be the ones who benefit.’”
Boston Herald 6/7/00)
Secretary of State's Office. Figures are preliminary.)
The Boston Herald reported the following on 10/28/00:
November 7, 2000.
Against--1,042,663 (53%). For--919,239 (47%). 76% precincts reporting.
Challenged in lawsuit by all 11 Massachusetts District Attorneys and the
Massachusetts Chiefs of Police 6/6/00.
2001 National Families in Action. Author: Sue Rusche. All rights reserved.
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