cannabisnews.com: More Marijuana Fines Possible





More Marijuana Fines Possible
Posted by CN Staff on January 09, 2009 at 12:31:59 PT
By Sabrina Cardin, Staff Writer
Source: Daily News
Newburyport, MA -- Police have started issuing $100 tickets to people caught smoking marijuana, but city officials are considering a tougher local ordinance that would add significantly higher fines for smoking marijuana in a public place.Since the law went into effect Jan. 2 decriminalizing the use of marijuana, seven citations have been issued in Newburyport. The city's first tickets came on Jan. 2 when three teens under 16 in a car were issued citations. Three days later, on Jan. 5, two 17-year-olds and two 18-year-olds were cited for smoking in a parked car behind a Newburyport Mobil station.
Under the new law, towns and cities can only give citations for anyone caught with under an ounce of marijuana. For violators 18 and older, the citation is $100. Violators 17 and younger are issued the $100 citation, their guardian or parent is informed, and the violator is required to complete a drug awareness program.For Lt. Rick Seimasko of the Newburyport Police Department and other officials, the law's flaw does not lie in the ticketing but in public consumption and how much an ounce of marijuana really is.Currently the offense of public consumption of marijuana is only punishable by the civil citation, leaving the possibility that someone could casually smoke on State Street with their morning coffee and face only the $100 citation.But some communities  with Framingham taking the lead  are attempting to apply the same laws to marijuana that are currently applied to tobacco. In that town, smoking is banned in public; those caught face a $50 fine, and if the smoking occurs in a business it is fine up to $300 and faces loss of its town licenses.Early this week the Massachusetts Executive Department of Public Safety and Security provided the Newburyport Police Department with an ordinance draft regarding public consumption of marijuana. The draft calls for a ban of smoking in public places, with a $300 fine."I want to see an ordinance go through quickly," Seimasko said. "But it's really up to the councilors to draft it and send it to the Public Safety Committee."Newburyport City Councilor Steve Hutcheson received an outline for a state suggested ordinance two days ago. When asked what he thought about it, he said he needed to speak with Lt. Seimasko and get a further understanding on the ordinance."I don't want to change what voters did back in November," Hutcheson said.City Council President James Shanley also received a copy of the suggested ordinance. At press time, he declined comment on the draft, saying he wanted to comment after it went past the draft phase."The thing I find distressing is the general law does not have severe fines for public consumption," Seimasko said. "I hope the city makes public smoking consequences more severe than public drinking."Attorney Steve Epstein of Georgetown has been a longtime supporter of the decriminalization of marijuana. He believes the $100 citation is enough to deter locals from smoking in public."Unless you are a millionaire, the citation should be enough," Epstein said. "The $100 is sufficient, especially in Newburyport, because there is such a large police presence."Under the new law, possession is the only marijuana law that has been altered. Operating under the influence of drugs and intent to distribute remain the same. In the past, police departments were able to use offenders to catch others through plea bargains, but with the new citation process, Seimasko said there could be a communication breakdown."I find it unfortunate that Massachusetts is getting soft on drugs," Seimasko said. "People smuggling drugs is a violent profession. Law enforcement officers are dying to enforce drug laws, and I find it unfortunate Newburyport is getting soft on drugs."The officers fear the current $100 citation for smoking in public is not severe enough."I think it's something that should be controlled," said Sgt. Steve Chaisson of the Newburyport Police Department. "The people have spoken, but I feel smoking in public is just wrong. Marijuana is a gateway drug no matter what people say."Source: Daily News, The (Newburyport, MA)Author: Sabrina Cardin, Staff WriterPublished: January 09, 2009Copyright: 2009 Eagle Tribune Publishing CompanyURL: http://drugsense.org/url/jeajCcztWebsite: http://www.newburyportnews.comContact: http://drugsense.org/url/k3oQxseRRelated Articles:City Attempts To Strengthen Pot Penaltieshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24415.shtmlMassachusetts Police Chiefs Legalize Marijuanahttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24409.shtml 
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on January 13, 2009 at 19:50:00 PT
Way to go, Stan!
Thank you, tHE gcw.
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Comment #2 posted by tHE gcw on January 13, 2009 at 05:04:29 PT
US MA: PUB LTE: Gateway theory discredited 
US MA: PUB LTE: Gateway theory discredited 
Webpage: http://www.newburyportnews.com/puopinion/local_story_012235556.htmlPubdate: 13 Jan. 2008 -
Source: Daily News, The (Newburyport, MA)Sgt. Steve Chaisson of the Newburyport Police Department ("More marijuana fines possible," Jan. 9) sums it all up: "Marijuana is a gateway drug no matter what people say." In reality, nearly every study including government studies historically discredit the gateway theory. But that doesn't matter.Police and their unions are contributors of the gateway effect by using lobbyists to perpetuate cannabis (marijuana) position which forces sales by the same people who often sell honest addictive hard drugs. It is disgusting that the law enforcement community is so bent on being mean and discriminating against otherwise responsible adults.Stan WhiteDillon, Colo-0-US MA: PUB LTE: No need to increase marijuana fines 
 
 Webpage: http://www.newburyportnews.com/puopinion/local_story_012235550.htmlPubdate: 13 Jan. 2008 - 
Source: Daily News, The (Newburyport, MA)-the penalty for drinking alcohol in public is a $50 fine.(Both coming to MAP)
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on January 10, 2009 at 12:20:15 PT
Once again...
So many thinking a hundred dollars isn't severe enough punishment.Good grief. I'm reminded of these words from that old classic, An Illegal Smile."Will you please tell the Man, I didn't kill anyone?"
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