BOSTON - Walking into his political fundraiser
at an upscale Boston restaurant, state Sen. Scott Brown waved off a
small knot of demonstrators huddled in the evening chill to protest
Brown's proposed legislation adding stiff penalties for some
The Wrentham Republican had little to say about the
"I didn't know there were protesters. That's my comment," he
said entering the restaurant as protesters handed out fliers with
Brown's face superimposed on an image of Italian dictator Benito
Protesters said Brown was ignoring the will of voters with his
proposed legislation that would impose a fine of up to $1,000 for
possession of marijuana in the passenger seat of a car.
"Essentially, it's recriminalizing the possession of marijuana
in a car and we think that's ridiculous because exactly 66.17
percent of the constituents in (Brown's) district voted for a $100
fine and the decriminalization of marijuana," said Bill Downing,
the president of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.
"We think that not listening to those voters and, in fact,
trying to override the wishes of those voters is similar to
fascism," he said.
In November, Massachusetts voters approved Question 2 by almost
a two-thirds vote. The ballot question made the possession of an
ounce or less of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $100
fine and prohibited police from reporting the offense to the
state's criminal record database.
The law had no provisions for people caught with marijuana in
The state has a law prohibiting open containers of alcohol in
Scott Gacek, a MassCann director, said he had e-mailed Brown
earlier in the week.
"He wanted to bring (marijuana laws) in line with open container
alcohol laws. I told him that there's a legal way to purchase
alcohol and to do that you need to provide an outlet to purchase
marijuana legally," Gacek said.
Damyian Gant was listening to his MP3 player walking to Back Bay
when Downing handed him a flier.
Gant said he voted for Question 2 in November and was surprised
by Brown's bill.
"I think that it's asinine. Why turn over a ruling that the
voters of Massachusetts just voiced their opinion on?" he said. "If
the folks are interested in having a ticket or fee attached to
someone who's caught with marijuana, then that fee should stand
"If we're going to amend that, then why was it put on the ballot
for us to vote on?"
Joel Miller debated the meaning of the word fascist with a
protester before stopping to talk about his feelings on marijuana
"I'm not saying the senator's right. I'm just saying I don't
think they're right," Miller said, pointing at the protesters
around him. "Or the people that want to support (marijuana
"I think it needs to be looked at a lot more. I see no positive
social implications of easing the grass situation," he said.
Co-sponsors of the bill, state Rep. Jay Barrows, R-Mansfield,
and state Rep. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham, could not be reached for