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A 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 Drug Offenses

Sponsor Coalition for Fair Treatment 
(Formerly Committee for Forfeiture Reform)
(A Subsidiary of Campaign for New Drug Policies)

Authors Richard Evans 
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.” 
(Massachusetts 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 be dismissed.  
(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)                

What Opponents Say
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 Coakley.”  
(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.’”  
(The Boston Herald 6/7/00)


George Soros
Peter Lewis
John Sperling


(Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office. Figures are preliminary.)

Details, Funders

Note: The Boston Herald reported the following on 10/28/00:

George Soros
Peter Lewis
John Sperling


Failed 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.


© Copyright 2001 National Families in Action. Author: Sue Rusche. All rights reserved.
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