Marijuana Possession: Question Support Slips

Marijuana Possession: Question Support Slips
Posted by CN Staff on August 09, 2002 at 09:02:43 PT
By Jane Ann Morrison, Review-Journal
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal 
Two days after a police organization announced its support for a ballot question decriminalizing possession of less than 3 ounces of marijuana, that support crumbled. Four board members with the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs disagreed with the assertion earlier this week by the organization's president, Andy Anderson, that the board's nine members voted unanimously to support Question 9. 
They said that an official vote never took place and that they believed any discussions on the issue concerned medical use of marijuana, not legalization. The organization will hold a board meeting today to discuss what several of its members are describing as a miscommunication. News that a police group would support a controversial ballot question received national attention. But Thursday, board members representing the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, North Las Vegas Police Officers Association, Henderson Police Officers' Association, the State Peace Officers Council and the Clark County School Police Officers Association said their unions will not support Question 9. Anderson said he thinks some are changing their position because of pressure from their members. And he challenged their recollections of the discussions. "They all told me they support the initiative that if someone is 21 or older they can smoke in the privacy of their home," he said. NCOPS is an umbrella group for police unions representing more than 3,000 members of law enforcement. Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor dealt with as a ticket and punished by fines of up to $600 for the first two offenses. Question 9 would amend Nevada's constitution to say adults over 21 who are not in public places cannot be prosecuted for possession of less than 3 ounces of marijuana. Anderson had said NCOPS believes that to arrest and book people for small amounts of marijuana is a waste of resources. David Burns, president of the Henderson Police Officers' Association and secretary-treasurer of NCOPS, said that when he talked to Anderson: "I thought it was something we were going to place on the agenda for a future vote. I was not aware we were looking to take a vote. This is important enough to discuss the pros and cons. ... I believed I was just chatting." Burns said he was not fully aware of the details of Question 9 and thought it addressed medical use. He said he is changing his position now that he knows it addresses decriminalization. Some of the confusion might be because the medical marijuana initiative that appeared on the ballot in 1998 and 2000 appeared as a Question 9. Also, the new Question 9 has language addressing medical use, including how to cultivate, tax, sell and advertise marijuana for medical purposes. North Las Vegas Police Officers Association Mike Mcban said he thought Anderson "was talking about medical marijuana. ... Andy said he wanted to make a public statement and wanted to sound us out on it. It was not a vote." Mcban said he would not vote to endorse the question. Board member Mick Gillins from the Police Protective Association said that he thought the question concerned medical marijuana and that he now would vote against it. Ron Cuzze, the board member representing the State Peace Officers Council, said: "I thought I was being asked an opinion. I've never read the initiative, and I don't think any of us have." The union's members are against Question 9, he said. Phil Gervasi, president of the Clark County School Police Officers Association and a vice president of NCOPS, was the only member who was not confused by the question. Gervasi said he supports Question 9, but his group will not. "We're definitely not supporting it or taking any stand on it. We deal with children, and we're not going to make children feel this is the way to go. My personal feeling is that if they're 21 and in their house, they can do what they want. But there will be no endorsement." Though his union may not back Question 9, Gervasi said he may do so as an individual member of the board. He said he wants to hear a full debate before making up his mind. He said Anderson explained to him that "this would put us in the loop where we could be part of the regulation" when the Legislature would create penalties for public use. David Kallas, executive director of the Police Protective Association, said he chooses not to serve on the NCOPS board. "But I've got real issues with an organization taking a stand on a significant issue without sitting down and going over every line." The NCOPS endorsement "embarrassed me personally and professionally because of our relationship with NCOPS," said Kallas, a former vice officer. He predicted a turnaround. "It's sure to be pretty much a no-brainer," he said. "They'll say sorry we've made a mistake, and we're not supporting it." After the initial endorsement, opponents of the question voiced their concerns. Undersheriff Richard Winget said he was shocked at NCOPS' position. "People with 1 ounce or less get a ticket, that doesn't clog up the system. Three ounces is a lot of pot. Marijuana is like straw; it doesn't weigh very much. Three ounces is 120 marijuana cigarettes. That's not personal use; that's what a dealer might have." Winget said 36 percent of the people police arrest are under the influence of marijuana. As far as Anderson's contention that police are spending too much time handling petty drug cases, Winget said Las Vegas police this year have booked just 49 cases in which a small amount of pot was involved. Drug charges are usually secondary to another crime, he said. Gary Booker, the chief deputy district attorney in charge of the vehicular crimes unit, said anti-DUI activists and victims groups will organize to fight the question because of fears it will weaken drunken-driving prosecutions. Billy Rogers, who leads the group promoting the ballot question, declined to speculate what a withdrawal of the endorsement would mean. He praised the "tremendous courage" of the nine board members. When told five associations are not expected to stick with that position, Rogers praised the "original support." Despite the loss of support from his board, Anderson said he will continue to work on behalf of the question. "This was a commitment I made because I believe in the issue. ... If I have to, I'll carry it as an individual or as president," he said.Note: Group's board members say no vote has been held. Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)Author: Jane Ann Morrison, Review-JournalPublished: Friday, August 09, 2002Copyright: 2002 Las Vegas Review-JournalContact: letters lvrj.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NRLE Policy Project Blazes Trail for Legal Marijuana Union Leader Rebukes Support of Marijuana Ballot Issue: Police Back Legalization Support Pot Initiative 
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Comment #16 posted by pppp on August 10, 2002 at 08:40:45 PT
..just watch...
....Rummy will be appointed as head of homeland security soon....Empire will do unprovoked slaughterhouse in Iraq .. probably in early October.......and,,,,,by the way:
........Apocolypse type Millenium stuff to happen quite soon too.....
...So make sure you got your shit together with GOD!.....I mean,,if you think about it,,God is either "there",,or he's "not there"........I know that is rather a blunt,and simplistic way to put it,,,,,,but ya gotta start with the "God,or no God" question right away when you think about these things....I know alot of people like to think in terms like this:
 "..Yes,,I believe in a higher power who exsists in nature and kind of is out there,and is nice and good and floating about in the ethereal esoterica of possible evermore."
.....well,,,I think that theory sucks!.....there is no hazy ,might be there,,probably is zone about God!....(?)
...look at it like this for a minute:.....either God is there,,or God is not there.(*)......... [you may think I'm joking],,,...there is no "could be",,when it comes to  .......  ........'s the question I will be discussing next time this topic comes up;;;;;."how do YOU know who God is?"
(*) .,,,[{..uuhhh,,that sounded alot like that "those who are not for us,are against us freeka-gem O' dubya])...I may have gone too far..]]}]]]]...
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Comment #15 posted by freedom fighter on August 10, 2002 at 07:56:22 PT
Butterfly Shoo-in Effect
It's a small wonder why 50% of population have no regard for the "LAW". How could we trust "Boys" in the blue to wear weapons if they think like that?Sorry, boys, the news is out in main media these days and any of you boys decided to state that you did not know you were voting are going look like keystone cops chasing a dog tail!I pray that the people of Nevada are smarter than that!ff
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Comment #14 posted by el_toonces on August 09, 2002 at 23:18:13 PT:
Donuts & Coffee.....
The donut RULES, FoM! It brings to mind, immediately, the Police Chief (Wiggum, I think?) from the Simpsons!
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on August 09, 2002 at 16:55:31 PT
Glad you liked the donut!
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on August 09, 2002 at 16:52:41 PT
Nuevo Mexican 
Thanks for the heads up on the article. I got it posted. 
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Comment #11 posted by potpal on August 09, 2002 at 16:02:38 PT
The donut!
Very fresh, got a hardy har har out of me...
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Comment #10 posted by Nuevo Mexican on August 09, 2002 at 15:51:19 PT
Speaking of Rumsfield, off topic....
The War on Drugs? or The War *on* Drugs? Military looks to drugs for battle readiness As combat flights get longer, pilot use of amphetamines grows, as do side effects. By Brad Knickerbocker | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
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Comment #9 posted by Dan B on August 09, 2002 at 14:55:07 PT:
Rumsfeld Quote - Off Topic
In a recent press briefing, Rumsfeld made the following assertion about Iraq:"If a bad regime was thrown out, people were liberated, food could come in, borders could be opened, repression could stop, prisons could be opened," he said. "It would be fabulous."Wow! Just think, Rumsfeld--maybe after you accomplish all that for Iraq, you can bring the boys home so they can accomplish the same outcome for Americans, 1/5 of whom go hungry each night, whose borders are closing fast, who endure repression at the hands of a dictatorial corporate oligarchy consumed with controlling what each citizen does with his or her own body, who are imprisoned at a rate far greater than the Iraqis, and who have been suffering far too long from what can only be described as a "bad regime."Don't get me wrong; I'd like to see the oppression in Iraq end. I'd also like to see sane people running the United States federal government, and I'd like to see more freedoms for everyone in the world--something that cannot happen under the current American "bad regime." End the oppression. Start with America.Dan B
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Comment #8 posted by Nuevo Mexican on August 09, 2002 at 12:18:43 PT
Think Positive Troutmask!
Like we need negative, it's not going to happen attitudes when it comes to the Nevada Cannabis Initiative. Glad your not my psychic, you'd depress the hell out of me! As a 'psychic' I see prohibition falling apart faster than you can say, 'i'm out of weed, and must be a little depressed today'....War is over! Get it?
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Comment #7 posted by WolfgangWylde on August 09, 2002 at 11:01:49 PT
This is a net plus....
...for the initiative. When the people realize what duplicitous idiots the cops are being, they'll be more likely to vote FOR legalization. 
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Comment #6 posted by aolbites on August 09, 2002 at 10:48:49 PT
What dealers?!
Undersheriff Richard Winget said he was shocked at NCOPS' position. "People with 1 ounce or less get a ticket, that doesn't clog up the system. Three ounces is a lot of pot. Marijuana is like straw; it doesn't weigh very much. Three ounces is 120 marijuana cigarettes. That's not personal use; that's what a dealer might have." i guess that they dont get that the state would be licensing the dealers... why would anyone else sell if you could get it at a liquer store?!?!esp with the penalties for selling to kids.......
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Comment #5 posted by Industrial Strength on August 09, 2002 at 10:36:49 PT
The dreaded C word
Why are people so blind? Nothing but red herrings and gross misconceptions. Morons. Spineless morons.
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Comment #4 posted by 2Spooky on August 09, 2002 at 10:22:39 PT
Yup, they look like fools now.Still, there is 5 folks who havent started whining on that it still holds.Even so the damage has been done. That guy was all over the news for days about his support for the measure. The antis lost this one.
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Comment #3 posted by Zero_G on August 09, 2002 at 09:41:36 PT
Somebodies fibbing...
Are we to trust these people in court?This has been one of those surreal stories, that seemed unreal to start, and then seems to unravel as it unreels.Did you expect the Police union to vote against job security? Not to mention that pot smokers are usually docile collars...Wonder what that meeting was actually like, are there any minutes, perhaps?Someone want to support their claims, and leak them, maybe?
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on August 09, 2002 at 09:23:15 PT
This makes the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs look really incompetent. This was important policy vote. Wouldn't you think people who understood the law would know this. Now some of them are crying about "I did't know what I was voting for". Gemme a break. Anything else they do now is damage control. 
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Comment #1 posted by TroutMask on August 09, 2002 at 09:11:20 PT
"Winget said 36 percent of the people police arrest are under the influence of marijuana."Wow, that's a good one! I'd really like to hear how that statistic was compiled. Maybe they use psychics...Anyway, I think this initiative bit off more than it can chew. I'm not optimistic about it passing. There's both the issue of 3 ounces and the issue of the state potentially distributing it. If it doesn't pass this year, they should try again ASAP with lower expectations.-TM
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