Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Legislation

Mandatory Minimums

Bill Number: S.167


Petition of Cynthia S. Creem, David P. Linsky, David P. Magnani, Ruth B. Balser and other members of the General Court

Official Summary: Relative to drug mandatory minimum sentences.

DPFMA Position/Summary:

DPFMA supports this legislation as written. It would allow non-violent individuals who have been incarcerated for drug crimes to be released after they have served 2/3 of their sentence. As introduced, this would be retro-active legislation.

Action on Bill:

  • 01/01/03 S Referred to the committee on Criminal Justice
  • 01/01/03 H House concurred - HJ 263A
  • Public Hearing date May 21 am at 10:00 in Gardner Auditorium
  • 03/29/04 S Accompanied a study order, see S2295 - SJ 1702

Complete Bill Language & Info: www.state.ma.us/legis/bills/st00167.htm

In 2002, the Bush administration spent more than $18.822 billion on the "War on Drugs."

The United States has locked up nearly a half a million people for non-violent drug offenses. We now have the largest prison population in the world.

In 2000, Massachusetts had the highest reported rate of illegal drug use in the nation. In 2001, there were over 14,000 adult drug arrests in Massachusetts, of which nearly 75% were for possession.

In 1999, minorities, who use & sell drugs at similar or lower rates than whites and who represent less than 20% of the state population, made up 54% of all state drug convictions, 80% of all mandatory drug convictions, and in Suffolk County, 89% of all school-zone convictions (imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of two years).

Research shows that decriminalizing marijuana in Massachusetts would save the state at least $24.3 million in law enforcement resources and would not lead to an increase in marijuana use.

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