Massachusetts Drug Treatment Trust Fund Initiative, Question 8 (2000)
The initiative proposed the creation of a state Drug Treatment Trust Fund.
|Question 8 (Drug Treatment Trust Fund)|
Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
Question 8 proposed the creation of a state Drug Treatment Trust Fund to be used, subject to appropriation by the state legislature, solely for the treatment of drug-dependent persons. The fund would include fines paid under the state's criminal drug laws; money forefeited because of its use in connection with drug crimes; and the proceeds from selling property forefeited because of its use in connection with drug crimes. Money in the fund would be spent to increase, not replace, existing government funding for drug treatment programs.
The proposed law would also expand eligibility for the program under which a person charged with a drug crime may request a court finding that he is drug-dependent and would benefit from court-monitored treatment. If the court so finds, and the person then successfully completes a treatment program, the criminal charges would be dismissed.
The proposed law would also change the state law governing forefeiture of money and property used in connection with drug crimes. Land and buildings could not be forefeited if used in a manner that was merely incidental to a drug crime. That state would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that money or property was subject to forefeiture, and the property owner could then try to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the money or property was legally exempt from forefeiture. All forefeited money would be put in the Drug Treatment Trust Fund and all forefeited property would be sold and the proceeds put into the fund.
The proposed law stated that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the rest of its parts would remain in effect.
The initiative was supported by the Coalition for Fair Treatment. They argued that treatment is more effect than incarceration for "drug-dependent offenders." They also stated that under the current law, property can be confiscated from innocent people--"[f]or example, if your son or daughter is arrested while driving your car, it can be taken and sold--and the police keep the money!"
The coalition also cited support from three former attorneys general (Scott Harshbarger, Frank Belotti and James Shannon), Congressman William Delahunt, and the League of Women Voters.
The measure was opposed by the Massachusetts District Attorney Association, led by Martha Coakley. Coakley argued that the proposed law only benefitted drug dealers and called the measure "a major step toward decriminalizing drug dealing." She also claimed that the proposed law "effectively nullifies" existing laws which dictate penalties for drug dealers who carry firearms, and that the proposed law would deprive state and local law enforcement of "virtually all their resources to investigate major drug conspiracies."
- List of Massachusetts ballot measures
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- 2000 ballot measures
- Massachusetts 2000 ballot measures
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- Information for Voters: The 2000 Ballot Questions p.15
- Elections: Massachusetts 2000 Statewide Ballot Measures (PDF) Secretary of State record