Clipped From The Delta Democrat-Times

oneearthsun Member Photo

Clipped by oneearthsun

 - i c l e on his a lo been i s c o n t i n u e d...
i c l e on his a lo been i s c o n t i n u e d p o t e n t i a l a r o l i n a a n d the more r e , this the To the editor: On Feb. 25, Rep. Doug Abraham, and five other members of the House of Representatives introduced House Bill 1141 which would reduce penalties for possession of less than one ounce marijuana to a maximum $100 civil fine. Earlier, Hep. Abraham had introduced House Bills 708 and 709 which called for mandatory 20-year sentences for sale of all drugs except less than six ounces of marijuana to adults. The sale of less than six of marijuana called for a maximum $10,000 fine and maximum 10 years j a i l . House Bill 709 called for mandatory life sentence for similar sales to minors. On March 8 in a sub-committee hearing chaired by Rep. Abraham, a committee substitute was passed which combined House 708 and 1144. On March 10, the full committee considered (his committee substitute for House Bill 70S. It was amended so that the non-criminal penalty for possession of less than ounce of marijuana applied only to first offense. Subsequent offenses would continue with our present criminal penalties. Obviously, we had a bill here that gol very tough on people who deal illegal drugs, and made a slight reduction in the penalties for young people caught in possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill now some ways resembled the New law which has very light penalties first offense possession of small amounts and escalating penalties for subsequent offenses. The New Mexico law has been endorsed by Ken Fairly, director of the Bureau of Narcotics, and Sen. James O. Eastland, two t h e m o s t v o c a l decriminalization. During the meeting in which the was considered, figures presented to the committee by Ken Fairly, showed that in Harrison, Lowndes, Forrest, Jackson, and Hinds counties during 1975, there were 816 arrests for possession of marijuana, and only 18 arrests for sale of marijuana. It's to see where our priorities have in the past, and the committee substitute was an obvious attempt to rearrange those priorities. It became obvious that the bill on the verge of passing with a 12 positive vote, yet, a quick scramble the forces against the bill, including Rep. Hainon Miller of Greenville, produced a note from Rep. Charles Deaton of Greenwood, stating that wished to vote against the bill despite the fact that he had not been in attendance at the meeting, nor was aware of the amended form of the committee substitute bill. In a p e r f e c t l y legal, t h o irregular move, the absent vote was counted to bring the total vote count up to 12 to 11, and Rep. Sonny Meridith, chairman of the committee, who docs not normally vote, except the case of ties, cast the tying which effectively killed the bill. Once again, emotionalism and ignorance of the facts has triumphed, and we will see another year in Mississippi where the dealer in hard drugs is free to roam the streets peddle his wares of misery while law enforcement efforts are spent busting our kids for a few cigarettes. Mississippi NORML will be back 1977 with another bill. I only hope in the meantime, the people of Washington county can bring all of their representatives to understand this problem as Doug Abraham Sincerely, Douglas A. Tims State Coordinator Mississippi Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws ^

Clipped from
  1. The Delta Democrat-Times,
  2. 15 Mar 1976, Mon,
  3. Page 4

oneearthsun Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in