Policing The Pot Patrol

Policing The Pot Patrol
Posted by CN Staff on September 23, 2004 at 09:09:22 PT
Source: Chicago Tribune 
Chicago Police Sgt. Thomas Donegan was in court one day last January awaiting the appearance of two men he had arrested for possession of marijuana. Neither man showed up. A warrant was issued for one, but the other's case was dismissed.That was typical. The people who are arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of less than 30 grams of pot routinely are not prosecuted. The reasons vary: Cops don't show up in court, there are problems with the evidence or the arrest, judges or prosecutors don't think the case is worth pursuing.
Donegan collected some statistics to present to Police Supt. Philip Cline.Last year, Chicago police arrested more than 20,000 people for misdemeanor possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. According to Donegan's numbers: 94 percent of the cases that involved less than 2 1/2 grams were dropped, 81 percent of the cases that involved 2 1/2 to 10 grams were dropped, and 52 percent of the cases that involved 10 to 30 grams were dropped.So what's the point of making an arrest?This Chicago cop believes the city would be better off making possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation of city ordinance, punishable by a fine, rather than going through the charade of criminal prosecution with the empty threat of jail time.Mayor Richard Daley agrees. "If 99 percent of the cases are thrown out and we have police officers going [to court], why?" the mayor said Wednesday. "It costs you a lot of money for police officers to go to court." Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine's office will meet with police to discuss this proposal.The idea has a lot of merit. It offers a proportional response to the illegal use of marijuana, and it carries the prospect of genuine punishment. If you were caught with a small amount of marijuana, you would get a ticket. Those who are guilty would have to pay. Donegan recommends fines of $250, $500 and $1,000 for the three categories of possession.That would free up the police, prosecutors and judges for far more important criminal matters. It would bring some much-needed revenue to the city. It would bring some common sense to drug policy. Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Published:  September 23, 2004Copyright: 2004 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles:Daley Backs Plan for Pot Tickets Just Ticket Marijuana Users Marijuana Arrests May Mean Just a Ticket Wants To Fine -- Not Jail -- Potheads 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 23, 2004 at 10:23:05 PT
Press Release from
Natural High 2 - Riding the Drug-Free Wave Into Every School in America Action Sports Heroes Deliver a New Anti-Drug Message to 112,000 SchoolsLA JOLLA, Calif., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- has just released its latest substance abuse video, Natural High 2 - Riding the Drug-Free Wave. The video features action sports champions and Hip Hop dancers who share powerful stories about what it's like to lead a fun, exciting, and successful life without drugs or alcohol. The goal for the video is unprecedented: Distribute a free copy of Natural High 2 to every public, private, and alternative school in the country (any school with a fifth grade or higher). This means sending the video to 112,000 schools with the hope of reaching 31,000,000 kids. begins its crusade this week, sending 15,000 videos to schools in California, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and New Mexico. Tony Hawk, 12-time world skateboard champion, is the host of Natural High 2. The video also showcases Kelly Clark, champion snowboarder; Travis Pastrana, motocross stunt champion; Tori Allen, champion sport climber; Laird Hamilton, ocean sports pioneer; Wendy Fisher, extreme skier; celebrity Hip Hop dancers "Crazy Legs" and "Mr. Wiggles," and many more. In sneak previews, parents and teachers applauded the inspiring, compelling messages. Kids were riveted to the screen "oohing" and "aahing" as they watched their heroes and heroines perform amazing feats such as Laird dropping into a 50-foot wave and Wendy skiing a 50-degree peak. But the kids listened attentively when their role models talked tough about drugs. In the video, celebrity athletes inspire kids to seek healthy goals and activities. They urge kids to do well in school, make smart decisions, and avoid destructive behavior. They encourage kids to unleash their potential and pursue their dreams. And they implore kids to avoid the perils that entrapped some of their friends -- loneliness, depression, and the wasting away of great talent. Barry McCaffrey, former Drug Czar under President Clinton, also applauds the video. He says, "A superb video. If you show your kids only one substance abuse prevention video this year, make it Natural High 2. Your young people will remember." Alan Sorkin, CEO of Parents & Adolescents Recovering Together Successfully, had this to say about the video: "Natural High 2 is outstanding. It's the first video I've seen that truly speaks to America's youth in language they can relate to." Natural High 2 is receiving so much praise because it's different than other anti-drug videos. "It's kids talking to kids," says Crystal Trull, executive director of the Sundt Memorial Foundation, the nonprofit that produced Natural High 2 and manages the website "It's a new wave of American role models delivering positive anti-drug messages. And kids from all walks of life with all types of interests find the positive messages compelling." Kelly Clark, a professional snowboarder featured in the video, says the secret to becoming successful and staying off drugs and alcohol is finding something you love and putting a lot of time and effort into it. Tony Hawk encourages kids to discover their special gifts and talents and to pursue them passionately. And kite-boarder, Nina Heinberg, says having a drug-free passion will steer your life in the right direction. "When kids hear messages like this in the video, they leave feeling confident. They feel encouraged to control their own lives, dream big, and seek 'natural highs,'" says Trull. "And they learn that it's cooler to say 'no' to drugs, than 'yes.'" has testimony after testimony that kids are connecting and responding to positive anti-drug messages. After watching the video, a junior high girl from Hanalei, Hawaii, said, "I finally realized that I won't achieve any of my goals if I do drugs!" A senior from the same school said, "I now see why it's important for me to hang around kids that will support, not destroy, my dreams." The messages seem to stick. One southern California surfer, Jonathan, who saw Natural High 1 as a 10th grader had this to say three years later, "After watching the video, I made a commitment not to waste my life on drugs. I decided to follow the advice of Tony Hawk, Peter King, and Tim Curran instead of listening to my friends. Being 19 and drug-free hasn't been easy. But many of the kids who once told me, 'Pot is no big deal' ended up in rehab for cocaine and alcohol abuse. I now surf better than all my old surfing buddies, and I'm the only one who got into a four-year college. There is no gift that is equal to what the Sundt Memorial Foundation has given me." That's impact. The Foundation's president knows what works because he's been fine-tuning the approach for more than a decade. "We know that the positive anti-drug message works, because our mailbox bulges with letters from parents, teachers, and kids about changed lives and new beginnings," says Jon Sundt, who started the Sundt Memorial Foundation in 1994, after two of his brothers died of substance abuse. "Kids who won't listen to their parents or teachers will listen to role models that they revere," exclaims Jon. "Our goal is to reach millions of kids at thousands of schools with inspiring anti-drug messages because we believe we can change their hearts and minds about the use of drugs and alcohol." The Natural High video series has been a success. Natural High 1 has been shown at 5,000 schools and seen by 1.2 million kids. Having a video shown at this many schools would be good enough for some, but not for Sundt. His vision is much bigger. The Foundation and are committed to producing a new Natural High video every year and distributing it to 112,000 schools in the country every year. "We want to give 31,000,000 kids that chance to hear what their role models have to say about substance abuse," says Sundt. Natural High 2 videos will be distributed to schools free of charge. "Distribution Sponsors" such as Nationwide Insurance and the Walrus Foundation help pay for the cost of distribution. Money from these sponsorships is used solely for duplication and distribution purposes. However, copies of Natural High 2 are available to the public at for $20. offers a free, comprehensive discussion guide that goes along with Natural High 2; it can be used to stimulate though-provoking discussions with kids, and teachers can use it as a tool in their literacy programs. The site also offers other parent and teaching aids, useful resources, and crisis hotline numbers. As part of its mission, the Foundation sponsors Natural High school assemblies. These high-energy assemblies bring Natural High athletes and celebrities into schools to speak to kids about substance abuse. "Kids love it," says Sundt. "Their personal stories and powerful messages leave lasting impressions." Kids can win a Natural High assembly -- which includes a $2,000 grant for building or maintaining a substance abuse program at their school -- by visiting and writing an essay.THE FOUNDATION: The Sundt Memorial Foundation was started in 1994 after its founder, Jon Sundt, lost two brothers to substance abuse. He then made a lifelong commitment to helping kids hear the message of not using drugs and alcohol in a positive way that will impact their lives forever. The Foundation also provides funding for substance abuse treatment and recovery centers that help kids and adults ride the drug-free wave to a fresh start in life. The Foundation's mission is to prevent substance abuse among children by changing their hearts and minds through education, entertainment, and positive role models. The Natural High video series, and, are part of a nationwide educational outreach program of the Foundation. The goal is to produce a Natural High video each year and distribute it to every school in the country. The Sundt Memorial Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit. To learn more about Natural High videos and the Foundation, visit: www. Crystal Trull, Executive Director, (858) 551-7006, crystal Tom Iselin, distribution sponsorship and business development, (208) 726-8150, tom Sundt Memorial Foundation, 800 Silverado Street, Suite 325, La Jolla, CA, 92037.SOURCE Web Site: 
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