Election 2002: District of Columbia 10/18/02

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Measure 62, the "Treatment Instead of Jail for Certain Non-Violent Drug Offenders Initiative of 2002," would allow persons charged with drug possession to request drug treatment in lieu of facing criminal charges. Judges could order a treatment program of up to 12 months (with a maximum extension to 18 months in some circumstances), upon completion of which the drug possession charges would be dropped.

But the measure does not apply to Schedule 1 drugs, meaning people arrested for possession of marijuana, heroin, LSD, or ecstasy would not be able to ask for treatment. Washington has a significant heroin-using population. It also has a significant cocaine-using population. Because cocaine is a Schedule II drug, cocaine users would be covered.

According to Opio Sokoni, campaign coordinator for Measure 62, the decision to exclude Schedule I drugs was an effort to avoid conflicts with the city's congressional overseers. Under the so-called "Barr amendment," the District is barred from spending any funds to implement any laws that would reduce penalties for Schedule I drug offenses. Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), spearheaded the blocking measure to thwart a 1998 medical marijuana initiative. Last month, a federal court in the district upheld the Barr amendment, knocking a medical marijuana initiative organized by the Marijuana Policy Project off the ballot.

Measure 62 has garnered almost no press attention and no organized opposition. Sokoni smells victory in November. "Sixty percent would be a mandate for change," he told DRCNet, "but we're looking for 70%." The DC Board of Elections and Ethics has not posted the measure on its web site. Under DC law, newspapers cannot print sample ballots until October 29. Visit http://www.dcmeasure62.com/fulltext.tpl to view the full text of Measure 62.

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Issue #259, 10/18/02 Election 2002:00:00 The Initiatives | Election 2002:00:00 Arizona | Election 2002:00:00 District of Columbia | Election 2002:00:00 Nevada | Election 2002:00:00 Ohio | Election 2002:00:00 South Dakota | Election 2002:00:00 Local Ballot Issues in San Francisco and Massachusetts | November Coalition Journey for Justice Roars through Michigan | Drug War Corruption in Colombia and Mexico | Newsbrief: New Compilation of California Medical Marijuana Guideline Info on MarijuanaInfo.org | Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Activist Arrested on Federal Charges | Newsbrief: Damned Sad -- MADD Sues DAMMADD | Newsbrief: This Week's Cop Corruption Story | Newsbrief: DARE Attrition Continues in Kansas City, Kansas | Newsbrief: Canada Study Looks at Marijuana for HIV/AIDS Woes | Newsbrief: In First, British Marijuana User Wins with Medical Necessity Defense | Newsbrief: Virginia Man Lucks Out with Only Two Years in Prison for Sharing Joint with Teenager | Newsbrief: BC City Governments Ask for Tougher Grow Penalties | Newsbrief: Florida School District Wants Positive Drug Test Kids to Pay for Own Counseling | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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