cannabisnews.com: Police Fear New MJ Law Will Lead To Increased Use





Police Fear New MJ Law Will Lead To Increased Use
Posted by CN Staff on November 09, 2008 at 14:13:53 PT
By Brian Messenger
Source: Eagle-Tribune
Massachusetts -- Nearly 2 million people voted to ease the state's marijuana laws last week, but to Haverhill Deputy police Chief Donald Thompson, the new guidelines simply don't make sense.Under the new rules, he said, an 18-year-old stopped for a routine traffic violation who is found to have under an ounce of marijuana on him would not be arrested. But if the same person has a single, unopened beer in the car, he would be subject to arrest.
"I don't think people thought it through," Thompson said of Question 2, which was approved by 65 percent of voters at the polls on Tuesday.The ballot question called for the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Those caught with an ounce or less will be forced to give up the drugs and pay a $100 fine instead of criminal penalties. Those under 18 will be required to complete a drug awareness program or face a stiffer $1,000 fine.Groveland police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz said he fears that under the relaxed law, drug dealers will take more chances selling marijuana, especially to younger people. The current penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts is up to six months in jail and a $500 fine."I feel this will not only encourage the use of marijuana in communities, but will also empower drug dealers to sell marijuana to our children, knowing the absence of criminal prosecution," Kirmelewicz said. "I am very disappointed with the passing of this law."What I envision is that they (dealers) carry less than an ounce of marijuana on them so they don't have to worry about prosecution. You're talking a $100 fine. A speeding ticket is more money than that. It's crazy. You're going to let a guy you would normally arrest walk away with almost an ounce of pot."The revised law is expected to go into effect in late December or early January, or 30 days after the governor is presented with official election results. That gives local law enforcement officials less than two months to adapt to the new rules.Until that time, possession of any amount of marijuana is still a criminal offense, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is working to determine exactly what the new rules will require the legal system to do.Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, who opposed Question 2, met with Coakley, other district attorneys, and representatives from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security on Friday to discuss the implementation of the new law.Many questions remain as to exactly how the law will be enforced, Blodgett said, including whether or not a central registry will be created to keep track of marijuana possession fines; how challenges to a fine will be handled; and how the state's Department of Family and Children will handle the drug education awareness component of the law.He said the district attorneys are also asking Gov. Deval Patrick to provide assistance to local police departments so they can train officers to enforce the new law fairly and uniformly across the state.Blodgett said he has been in contact with local police departments and will be scheduling a formal meeting shortly.Methuen police Chief Katherine Lavigne said she is confident the state will work everything out before the new rules take effect."They'll be working on that and getting back to us," Lavigne said. "We have some time before this is implemented."Supporters of the ballot question said the new law will spare thousands from having a criminal record, which can make it harder to get a job, student loan or gain access to public housing. They also argued that taxpayers would save $30 million in costs associated with marijuana arrests.In written statements before the election, Blodgett said it is a myth that first-time offenders charged with marijuana possession go to jail and pick up criminal records in the state of Massachusetts. Under state law, he said individuals charged with marijuana possession are placed on probation, and upon successfully completing probation, their records are sealed.Thompson, Haverhill's deputy police chief, questioned why state officials failed to invest in an advertising campaign before the election to show the public the risks associated with approving Question 2, chief among them that its passage could lead to more drug abuse among young people."I'm disappointed the state didn't put up a fight," he said.With the passage of Question 2, Massachusetts becomes the 12th state in the country to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.Lawrence, along with Braintree and Clarksburgh, were the only three communities in the state where a majority of voters opposed the question, and in all three instances it was voted down by a slim margin.Overall, 60 percent of voters in the Merrimack Valley supported decriminalizing the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, compared to 65 percent statewide.Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)Author: Brian MessengerPublished: November 09, 2008 Copyright: 2008 The Eagle-TribuneContact: letters eagletribune.comWebsite: http://www.eagletribune.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/V9Q2qQx5Related Articles & Web Site:Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policyhttp://www.sensiblemarijuanapolicy.org/ Question 2 Landslide Opens Drug Policy Debatehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24300.shtmlMajority Agrees Some Users Unduly Punishedhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24299.shtml
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Comment #23 posted by OverwhelmSam on November 12, 2008 at 06:48:13 PT
Stay Tuned... More BS To Come...
Watch Mass government, I'll lay odds that they are going to try to overturn decriminalization. 
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Comment #22 posted by dongenero on November 11, 2008 at 08:43:47 PT
Deputy Chief Donald Thompson
"I'm disappointed the state didn't put up a fight," he said.So, the guy is disappointed that the state did not fight this voter referendum? I love voter referendums. What is a more pure expression of the will of the public than that?I think that must make Thompson either a despot, a traitor or both. Typical disdain of the public by authoritarian government officials.
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Comment #21 posted by ezrydn on November 11, 2008 at 07:01:51 PT
Interesting saying
A couple days ago, I read where someone made a perfect comment, one that I'll definitely start using in my presentations. It goes:"Jails and Prisons are for people we're afraid of, not people we're mad at!"
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Comment #20 posted by ezrydn on November 11, 2008 at 06:57:06 PT
Blinders
I always read, just as I did here, that the leaders of the police feel laws such as this will "open the doors to drug dealers." What a crock! Don't they understand that it's Prohibition that opens that golden door? Laws, such as Mass. has just made, only help the citizens, not the dealers. Prohibition has already taken care of the dealers by giving them an occupation with large profits and no taxation, let along Regulation and Control.So, to all Chiefs of Police, before you start verbalizing stupidity, take a closer look at what you're thinking and boil it down to what the honest and true cause of your anguish is. It's Prohibition!
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Comment #19 posted by afterburner on November 10, 2008 at 21:53:36 PT
decriminalization of the possession of marijuana
decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana:Groveland police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz said, "You're going to let a guy you would normally arrest walk away with almost an ounce of pot."Yes, Chief, that's why they call it decriminalization! So, are you saying you want to arrest all people who possess small amounts of marijuana, just because some black market bozos *might* sell marijuana to kids (selling marijuana to children is still illegal, by the way)? By that logic, all people who possess alcohol should be arrested in order to protect our kids, spouses, drivers and passengers from alcohol-related domestic violence and highway carnage. Face the facts, alcohol is a much more serious social problem than "marijuana"!
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Comment #18 posted by rchandar on November 10, 2008 at 21:30:41 PT:
Your Comment
I never thought about it. I'm wondering how likely--percentwise, and all that it is, for a "small-time dealer" to "rise in the ranks" of crime to become, say, Michael Corleone.From Godfather, Part III: "Only In America."It seems pretty absurd. I don't think a "small-time dealer" has any great ambition--usually, he's unemployed, college-age, or both. Sometimes he may be working a small job and have a girlfriend and a few kids. But there's hardly a strong sense of patronage in the hierarchies of the mafia--thus, the complaint about aggressive dealers is a bunch of bulls #t.--rchandar
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Comment #17 posted by Vincent on November 10, 2008 at 14:03:14 PT:
Police opinions
Oh god, all that garbage about, "the police are confused about what to do" under the new guidelines. A bunch of Bull! He just doesn't like it, that's all. His opinion is revealed when he talks about how drug dealers will carry small amounts of pot to avoid arrest. I see through this numbskull like a piece of glass.
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Comment #16 posted by knightshade on November 10, 2008 at 09:41:21 PT:
do officials play dumb?
or do they not see the need to sound competent or back up their statements because theyre an 'official?'the first claim that arresting someone with an open beer but not a bag of weed doesnt make sense makes me think this guy never read the first page of his law book. especially if said beer drinker is 18. additionally, in my opinion, a sealed record is worse than an open record, because it still shows up on a background check, but an employer doesnt know that it was a marijuana charge. it could be almost anything. so they move to the next applicant with no record period, open or closed.so basically... stop crying, LEO. the people have spoken and we are still, at foundation, by the people for the people. we know whats best for us and you know whats best for you. leave us alone. 
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Comment #15 posted by ripit on November 10, 2008 at 08:10:47 PT:
he said he was 
disappointed that the state didn't put up a fight.i'm pretty sure that its not up to the state to oppose anything like this, is it?and as far as first timers not goin to jail thats because they throw em in to rehab for months on end where they have to pay for treatment as well as fines.and there are way to many judges out therewho apperently have no clue as to whats going on out there except for what the police tell them.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on November 10, 2008 at 07:43:09 PT
Just a Better Video of Michelle By Paul McCartney
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBwGmOexmNo
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 10, 2008 at 07:39:15 PT
Just a Nice Article
Sir Paul McCartney Wants To Sing for Michelle Obama November 10, 2008http://news.smashits.com/315286/Sir-Paul-McCartney-wants-to-sing-for-Michelle-Obama.htmThe Beatles 'Michelle'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xl8YtgDAKc
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on November 10, 2008 at 07:05:26 PT
Wacky Tobbacy Vending Machines
Coming Soon to your Michigan Town: Wacky Tobbacy Vending MachinesNovember 10, 2008http://www.collegeotr.com/michigan_state_university/coming_soon_to_your_michigan_town_wacky_tobbacy_vending_machines_14443
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Comment #11 posted by josephlacerenza on November 10, 2008 at 06:28:43 PT
More miss information
"Under the new rules, he said, an 18-year-old stopped for a routine traffic violation who is found to have under an ounce of marijuana on him would not be arrested. But if the same person has a single, unopened beer in the car, he would be subject to arrest." He seems to miss the point that if stoppped, and marijuana is found, the driver will be suject to a field sobriety test, U.A., or asked to compley to a blood test, or loose their licence (that is how it is in most states). One must be detaned to achieve these forms of evidence. It does not give me the impression of a "get out of jail free" card. A DUI is almost as distructive as being found just in possetion of marijuana.
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Comment #10 posted by OverwhelmSam on November 10, 2008 at 06:25:53 PT
Just A Note
It seems that many of these "Sheriffs" are Republican. That explains a lot. They will do anything including murder to get their way. How can these people be in law enforcement? Shouldn't they be in jail? I bet a private investigation of these same individuals would reveal all kinds of "official" criminal activity. Somebody please go after these antiquated remnants of ancient society. Should be like shooting fish in a barrell.
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Comment #9 posted by OverwhelmSam on November 10, 2008 at 06:18:12 PT
Lead to Increased Use? 
Really?!It appears that the prohibition of marijuana was designed and has caused such widespread use that there are stores in California, a well established black market, and a political wing for legalization. Great job law enforcement, your "marijuana user hate" is our best friend and the reason that you will lose your fight. LOLIronic, isn't it?
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Comment #8 posted by NikoKun on November 09, 2008 at 23:10:47 PT
on that same note
They should define an age limit on pot use, before comparing the crime of possession to the crime of underage use.
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Comment #7 posted by NikoKun on November 09, 2008 at 22:58:57 PT
um... kindof a "duh" moment
"Under the new rules, he said, an 18-year-old stopped for a routine traffic violation who is found to have under an ounce of marijuana on him would not be arrested. But if the same person has a single, unopened beer in the car, he would be subject to arrest."Yah... because the legal drinking age is 21, that's why he'd be arrested... But since a clear legal age for pot has not really been setup, the default is the legal age of adulthood - 18.If it was 21 year old, with an unopened beer in the car, he wouldn't be arrested either, and now neither would a pot user.
For god sakes, play fair, prohibitionist asshole.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on November 09, 2008 at 22:58:26 PT
Statement exposes a lot..
"According to Dunphy Farris, the majority of people arrested for marijuana possession in Hampshire and Franklin counties are diverted into substance abuse programs while their cases are continued. Once completed, the charges are usually dropped."US MA: Marijuana Question Raises Some Questions http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1015/a07.html?397That exposes part of the issue.Responsilbe cannabis users are having to do substance abuse programs in order to avoid the cage!Responsible cannabis users do not want to jump through hoops for anyone.Enough people have experienced that abuse and are steadfast to end it.Cops, do You understand? Responsible cannabis users don't want to finance deputy attorneys, cops, and substance abuse dinks... and their abusive system!
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on November 09, 2008 at 20:52:00 PT
John Tyler, 
This is what They'll be missin'US FL: Homeless Man Calls 911 For Jail, Pleasehttp://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1016/a04.html?397Pubdate: Sat, 08 Nov 2008Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on November 09, 2008 at 19:36:45 PT
times they are a changin
It would appear that some of the cops are really having a hard time coming to the realization that the cannabis law has changed. They still really want to arrest people. It just makes their blood boil that they will no longer be able to do that. That is why they are saying all of these stupid, outlandish things. I think they, and the communities they serve would be better off if they kept their mouths shut and did their job. Several other states have decrim laws and they havenít collapsed into anarchy.  
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on November 09, 2008 at 17:18:50 PT
Chief is having trouble. 
The Chief doesn't think people thought it through...-0-Uh, Cheif sir, I think people have thought it through and it seems they're through with six months in jail and a $500 fine for responsible citizens who simply have some plant material.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 09, 2008 at 16:55:52 PT
mykeyb420 
Thank you. That was a beautiful song and video. There's something pleasant about Obama supporters. They are all different ages, races, religions etc. but they have something in common. They love to smile and have hope.
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Comment #1 posted by mykeyb420 on November 09, 2008 at 16:09:06 PT
song of the next 8 years
This is a beautiful song
Obama song
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