Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Introduced by GOP State Rep John Fillmore

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Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, wants to make a possession of marijuana a petty offense, subject to a $100 fine.
The voter-approved medical marijuana system doesn't go far enough for one Republican lawmaker.

Under a bill introduced by Representative John Fillmore of Apache Junction, possession of two ounces or less of marijuana -- by anyone -- would become a petty offense and carry a fine of only $100.

Fillmore says that pot isn't a gateway drug, as critics claim, and all the money and time wasted by law enforcement on marijuana prohibition enforcement would be better spent elsewhere. Fillmore's legislative District 23 covers most of Pinal County and parts of Maricopa.

He says he's currently researching how much money his bill would save the state.

We figure it must cost Arizona courts and law enforcement tens of millions of dollars each year, easy, to prosecute thousands of pot users. (The vast majority are charged with misdemeanors.)

Fillmore also worries about the "young people" who get busted for experimenting with pot, often ending up with arrest and conviction records.

"This would protect them from having that blemish," he says.

He hasn't begun pushing the bill very hard yet, and so far the reception among his GOP colleagues has been "a lot of smiles and laughs," he says.

The successful passage of HB 2228 would be a major change for Arizona, which is one of the few states in which simple possession could be charged as a felony.

As we pointed out in our 2007 article about the U.S. Border Patrol's drug-sniffing dogs on Interstate 8, even a single pot seed may be enough to trigger an arrest. Fines range in the hundreds of dollars even with a misdemeanor conviction, and that's if you don't hire a lawyer to help. The conviction will show up on background checks for years, potentially screwing up a search for a job or rental home.

It's friggin' insane. Why shouldn't pot be as legal as 190-proof Everclear or assault rifles with banana clips?

Fillmore's bill takes an important step toward ending this legal farce. Obviously, though, it's a long shot.

The bill's been assigned the Rules Committee; Fillmore's not sure if it'll get a hearing, much less if it'll end up signed by the governor. He's new to the State Legislature as of this year and still learning the ropes. A couple of weeks ago, Fillmore made national news with a bill to legalize casino games at horse and dog tracks. But he hadn't even contacted racetrack owners about it. Republican leaders quickly shot down the idea.

Maybe he'll find success with this one.

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36 comments
Tim Giangiobbe
Tim Giangiobbe

Filmore has more allies and for the first time in any presidential election the candidates view must be known and they will not be able to dodge the issue like they conveniently avoid

Mike Mikl
Mike Mikl

WOW!!Finally someone that makes sence. I support ypu Mr Fillmore.This is way over due.Thanks Mike

Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana Addiction

Renowned surveys over the past sixteen years–for example, those sponsored by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University–find that the more often children have dinner with their parents, ... frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent dinners (fewer than three per week) are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol, and one and a half times likelier to use marijuana.

Dan
Dan

Interesting how there isn't a single person who commented on this, and is opposed. I just moved to AZ, and find it very scary that a very small amount can be so serious of a charge. It's time for change.

TimGiangiobbe
TimGiangiobbe

The Reefer Madness Started By William Randolph Hearst and Harry Anslinger will keep on imprisoning citizens for growing an Heb that wasn't illegsal until REEFER MADNESS.

The hate Campaign is Still Directed towards the African American Community wher a disproportionate amount of Blacks are Jailed for PETTY SALES.

Harm Reduction Sales of Cannabis is the Answer.Read Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol by Dr Tod Mikuriya.It is very useful now in the Campaign for COMMON SENSE.

DogEatDogma.blogspot.com

DogEatDogma.blogspot.com

Notsogud
Notsogud

Wow! Fillmore must be a pothead! Whoa dude! Right on! (Let's see how many times this comment is removed.)

Notsogud
Notsogud

Fillmore must be a pot head. Whoa, dude.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

I sent my representatives a letter urging them to vote yes on this. I'm a registered AZ voter; if you are too, and want this to pass, you should do the same. Don't forget, they are supposed to be working for us and doing the will of the people.

Does anyone else see a problem with the author lumping marijuana in with things like Everclear and assault rifles? " Why shouldn't pot be as legal as 190-proof Everclear or assault rifles with banana clips?" Everclear and assault rifles are dangerous if not handled properly. First time users of either without proper warnings/instruction could kill themselves or others. Not so with marijuana.

Tobynsaunders
Tobynsaunders

Cannabis should be legal because it's safe (for adults when used responsibly) & useful for very many things; medicine, leisure & non-drug industry. Hear hear to civil libertarianism (mainly a Liberal concept in the US but which righteously crosses over to Libertarian-conservatism).

Trommy
Trommy

We elected an intelligent politician in Arizona. I wish we had more people with common sense instead of the ignorance we seem to put in office. There's a first time for everything!

Dave
Dave

Keep up the great work Representative, the change will help your people and strengthen your communities. One little step towards sanity.I live in Ohio, but wish you success all the same.

CAMP420
CAMP420

I am so very proud of this Arizona congressman. He had the guts to speak out and speak up for what is right. Marijuana possession should not be a felony. This crazy prohibition we live under needs to be changed and I will be supporting this bill 100%!

How about we use our precious police resources to arrest real criminals not pot smokers.

Rain BakerCAMP420 Founder AZCAMP420 on TwitterCampaign Against MJ Prohibition in Arizona: CAMP 420 on FacebookPHXCAMP420: Campaign Against Marijuana Prohibition on MySpaceMember Phoenix NORML

There is Strength in Solidarity.

Trento
Trento

Rock on John Im glad I voted for you! The time is now to stop arresting people for a harmless plant. Come on police go after the horrible METH epidemic in our state.

Docbob498th
Docbob498th

MY GOD! A sane republican................whoda thunk.

Notsogud
Notsogud

I cannot see that happening. There's something else going on here.

kdhaslett
kdhaslett

Thank you Mr Fillmore for a sane piece of legislation. With our law enforcement, legal system, and prisons overburdeded and underfunded it is refreshing to see a bill that will resolve so many issues, instead of the highly offensive 300% tax.

Majkumajku
Majkumajku

and yes,thank you Mr. Fillmore,it's nice to see a politician do the right thing...

Majkumajku
Majkumajku

a republican with the RIGHT idea.personal freedoms,less government intrusion into peoples' personal rights and states rights.normally,republicans only support states' rights when it fits their agenda,especially when it lines their pockets with money.other than that,the republicans have a poor history of negating voter approved referenda,with the exception of lightening gun control laws.it's time they actually practiced what they preach,unless,of course,when the preacher is Pearce,McCain,Brewer,Flake and any other right wing extremists in our state government.and how is that death panel working out for Brewer?and all the school budget cuts?oh yeah,the recall effort has BEGUN!and i don't think there will be a problem getting the required number of signatures.hopefully,the people who voted for her will have woken up by then,and will see how badly she has damaged the state,especially the education system....RECALL!RECALL!RECALL!

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

Is there anything us citizens can do to get the state legislators to at least see the benefits that would come with this? I think it's great that this is coming from a GOPer, even if they don't give it a second glance.

J Curwen
J Curwen

One might try bribery, er, campaign contributions. Financial gain is something the Republicans understand.

Majkumajku
Majkumajku

especially the now solid proof that certain active ingredients in cannabis KILL CANCER CELLS!there is irrefutable proof of this fact.although the h.m.o.s and pharmaceuticals will fight this with all the money they can.it's also been discovered that it fights,and in some cases cures such diseases as ulcerative colitis,i.b.s.,parkinsons and ptsd.and there are more to be added to this list as researchers around the globe are stepping up the clinical research.

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Careful with that urban exaggeration, there. It's true that there has been some research on using cannabinoids as anti-neoplastic agents. However, most of that work has little real world application as it's still in the animal model stage. Much has been done with synthetic analogs, too. That's a long way from the stupid, counter-productive "Pot cures cancer!" claims I've heard some people spout. Every time I hear one of them I wonder how much damage has that person done to the cause?

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Trent, from that article, "THC, cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread."

Read closely. It does NOT say THC cures cancer. There is no cure for the common small cell carcinoma of the lung. There are treatments, but actual cures are pretty rare. There have been NO human trials using THC as a treatment for lung cancer.

Please, please, don't play into the hands of the opposition by spreading exaggerations and half-truths.

J Curwen
J Curwen

Well, back in the old days when I was a kid in Michigan, John Sinclair's friends organized a "Mail a Joint to Your Congressman Day" to lobby for pot law reform. On the appointed days the legislators received a deluge of letters containing a single reefer. It was quite the spectacle and raised a bit of fuss among the fuddy duddies. In the end possession was lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor, and that may have helped.

J Curwen
J Curwen

Best of luck, Mr. Fillmore, sincerely.

Parabolaone
Parabolaone

If marijuana is sooooo bad, then why do people laugh it off when it's brought up? Cause it is a joke to keep pressing the issue that it's bad for you. This shouldn't even be an issue. The decriminalization of marijuana is only a step in the right direction. Now go and protect our borders.

Adrian Cruz
Adrian Cruz

Russell "Wake and Bake" Pearce might be able to get behind this one. His whole family likes to toke up first thing in the a.m.

vic
vic

Which is probably why he will Not get behind this. Come on Russell prove mewrong for once! He seems to still put himself out there as the "values" spokesperson who can do know wrong. I don't think he has the guts to back this.

vic
vic

sorry it's NO wrong, not know wrong

Earthdayaz
Earthdayaz

NOW there's a tea party I can join! Right on Mr. Filmore, keep on keepin on. Please read "Hemp, Lifeline to the Future" by my friend Chris Conrad to get some good info on this marvoleous and helpful plant.

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