In one month, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. However that vote goes, officials in Needham have proposed a new bylaw that would raise the fines for smoking marijuana in public.
Needham officials have said the proposal was not created because of Question 3 on the state ballot but that the idea to increase the fines has been under discussion for about two years, according to a recent Boston.com article. However, the statewide initiative did encourage proponents to move the bylaw change forward.
The item does not appear on Needham's Oct. 29 special Town Meeting warrant, and the earliest it would come before voters is at the annual Town Meeting this spring.
If the Needham bylaw passes, someone caught smoking marijuana in public could face a criminal charge and a fine of $300 or a civil citation with a fine of $200 for each offense, along with other penalties, according to the Boston.com article.
So what do you think? Should Needham increase the fines for public consumption of marijuana? Should the town only add harsher penalties if Question 3 passes? Or should the town scrap the bylaw and allow the state to regulate marijuana use and penalties? Tell us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.