cannabisnews.com: Police Group Seeks To Alter City’s Pot Law 





Police Group Seeks To Alter City’s Pot Law 
Posted by CN Staff on February 27, 2005 at 09:14:54 PT
By Mike Wells of the Tribune’s Staff 
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune
The men and women enforcing Columbia’s new marijuana ordinance would very much like to see it overturned, according to the Columbia Police Officers Association, or CPOA. But to do that, they’re asking city leaders for help.In November, voters in the city approved two ordinances, one that allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes when prescribed by a doctor and another that limits the punishment for possessing small amounts of the drug to a $250 fine in municipal court, leaving no criminal record.
It’s the second ordinance that troubles police, said Officer Sterling Infield, president of the CPOA. He recently wrote Assistant City Manager Paula Hertwig Hopkins on behalf of the association, asking city leaders to help "squash this tainted ordinance." On Friday, Hopkins said CPOA’s request was turned over to the city’s legal department and that the Columbia City Council would be informed of it soon. She expects the city’s legal department will develop a response to the request fairly soon. "We don’t know what the options are," she said.Before joining Columbia police, Infield was an undercover narcotics detective for Jefferson City police and the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group task force, or MUSTANG. Having seen countless times how drug abuse harms users and their families, especially children, Infield says marijuana is accurately described as a gateway drug to more lethal substances.In his letter to the city, Infield tied CPOA’s concerns with the marijuana ordinance to last month’s shootings of Officer Curtis Brown and the late Officer Molly Bowden, who died Feb. 10. "I am asking for your help, and Mr. Beck’s," Infield wrote. "Mr. Beck went to Officer Curtis Brown during his ordeal and" asked "him if there is anything he could do to help. There is. Please allow the law department to allow the city prosecutor or the chief to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office to squash this tainted ordinance."Rick Evans, 23, shot Bowden Jan. 10 during a traffic stop at Nifong and Forum boulevards. He shot Brown the next morning in the Park De Ville neighborhood before shooting himself, later dying of the wound.Police found a small amount of marijuana in Evans’ car. In his home, investigators also found three plastic baggies of marijuana and measuring scales. Evans had multiple misdemeanor marijuana convictions."To stop this ordinance would bring a small degree of justice back to" Bowden and Brown, "who risked all to protect their community," Infield wrote. Infield later clarified his letter’s reference to the wounded officers. "It’s horrible that Molly and Curtis got shot, but that’s not the reason we’re doing this," he told a Tribune reporter.CPOA wants to keep dealers from using the new law to avoid convictions, Infield said. Under the new law, parolees ticketed for possession of less than 1Ľ ounces of marijuana would not face a parole violation. "A lot of these guys are carrying less than a felony amount," Infield said. "They learn from their mistakes. Most only have on them what they can sell immediately."The ordinance sends a subtle message to dealers that it’s painless to sell pot in Columbia, Infield said. "And I think we’re saying to our youth that it’s OK to do this."Columbia lawyer Dan Viets, a longtime marijuana decriminalization advocate, said he’s disappointed by CPOA’s stance. "I think it’s a shame," he said. "The voters have spoken on this."Besides, Viets said, marijuana use didn’t cause Bowden’s death. Perhaps, he said, CPOA should look at trying to repeal the state’s law permitting concealable weapons.Nonetheless, Viets praised enforcement efforts dealing with the new ordinance. "I think they have stayed true to both the spirit and the word of the law," he said.Police Chief Randy Boehm said he understands how some officers disagree with an ordinance they must enforce, but duty comes first. "My job is to make sure my officers are following the ordinance," he said. "And I think we are doing that."Columbia voters soundly defeated a similar city ballot issue in 2003."I think there are many in the community, including many in the Columbia Police Officers Association, who assumed it would not pass" in November, Boehm said.City Prosecutor Rose Wibbenmeyer said, "marijuana cases have increased a lot from Columbia police versus this time last year." Through Friday, she said, there were 210 marijuana violation deferrals under the new ordinance.Only three of those offenders have drawn additional scrutiny by Wibbenmeyer’s office: One woman allegedly committed two violations within 24 hours; one man was ticketed for three marijuana offenses within a 15-day period; and another man was ticketed twice in a little more than a month.Note: Letter cites use of substance by killer.Source: Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)Author:  Mike Wells of the Tribune’s Staff Published: Sunday, February 27, 2005Copyright: 2005 Columbia Daily TribuneContact: editor tribmail.comWebsite: http://www.columbiatribune.com/Related Articles & Web Site:Missouri NORMLhttp://www.gstlnorml.org/Bill Just Smoke, Lawmakers Say http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20145.shtmlSenator Seeks To Penalize City for Marijuana Lawshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20140.shtmlMarijuana Measures Pass Handily http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19765.shtml 
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on February 28, 2005 at 19:28:44 PT
runderwo
I bet it was a great feeling. When we get a small taste of freedom it is so nice.
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Comment #16 posted by runderwo on February 28, 2005 at 19:24:17 PT
10 days ago
I live in Missouri. I was in Columbia two weeks ago for a jazz concert. With knowledge of the recent legislation, I smoked in my car several times throughout the night and fortunately was not harassed. It was rather liberating knowing that in the worst case I would have received a citation. And all this in the centre of the so-called "Bible Belt" no less!
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 27, 2005 at 22:08:53 PT
Heads Up: History Channel
Right now on the History Channel on Direct TV is a documentary about Hitler.It is called High Hitler.It is very interesting and thought others might want to see it. It is on channel 269.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on February 27, 2005 at 21:47:51 PT
The People Have Spoken. Cops, Do Your Job!
Stop trying to make the laws."Columbia voters soundly defeated a similar city ballot issue in 2003."So what.Columbia voters soundly passed a city ballot issue similar to the 2003 ballot in 2004.
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Comment #13 posted by ekim on February 27, 2005 at 19:29:02 PT
So did Howard --JR
Lansing State Journal Feb 27 05 Letters
lsj.com
Howard J. Wooldridge: Our war on drugs only aids criminalsHoward J. Wooldridge is media director for the advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, based in Dallas, and served as a police officer in Potterville and DeWitt and Bath townships.
 How is the "War on Drugs" working for us in America?Is it reducing crime? Is it reducing rates of death and disease? Is it effective in keeping drugs and drug dealers away from our children?These are important questions for a policy that costs us taxpayers some $70 billion this year.As a police officer, I fought on the side of the "good guys" for 15 years in this war. I gained a lot of actual experience in the trenches.After much experience, consternation and out-and-out frustration in not achieving a single, stated goal in the long term, I came to the conclusion that we must be doing something wrong.It seemed no matter how many dealers we took off the streets, new ones immediately popped up to take their places.The prices for drugs kept falling, indicating an increasing supply.The purity kept increasing, too. Heroin increased from 3.6 percent to 38.2 percent purity between 1980 and 1999.The prison population kept increasing until more than 70 percent of all inmates are there on some drug-related charge.Between 1985 and 1996, worldwide production of heroin increased by three times, while coca production doubled.Meanwhile, terrorists and drug barons were amassing fortunes from drug sales. We have turned Third World thugs into billionaires that can buy governments and launch terrorism around the world.Our prisons are filled with non-violent offenders while murderers, rapists and child molesters get early release due to crowding.The only thing we have to show for this terrible policy is that today after 35 years and $500 billion, illegal drugs are cheaper, stronger and very easy for our kids to buy.The unintended consequences of this terrible war are needlessly destroying the lives of generations of America's youth. How many young people do you know who have used an illegal drug, then put the drugs behind them and gone on to lead productive lives? U.S. presidents and many members of our legislative bodies have done exactly that.With imprisonment, those possibilities are eliminated. You can get over an addiction, but you will never get over a conviction.We should be putting much more effort into education and treatment. The education has to be based in fact, not emotional scare tactics. The treatment needs to voluntary; forced treatment is not much different than some government's attempts at brainwashing.I suggest that if substances were regulated and taxed, adequate monies could be raised for quality programs, the huge profit incentive (up to 17,000 percent) would disappear, and the glamour of presently illicit drugs would be reduced.Drug prohibition represents the very definition of a failed public policy. Will Rogers said, "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging." Prohibitionists are well-intentioned but are blinded by ideology.But I don't want to be too harsh ... I once rode a horse and tilted at windmills, too.
http://www.leap.cc/events
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Comment #12 posted by The GCW on February 27, 2005 at 17:37:49 PT
& "If You don't like the laws change them...&q
You don't hear them say that either.An example of where a few bad cops ruin it for the majority of police types that want to do good...
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Comment #11 posted by ron on February 27, 2005 at 17:21:52 PT
It's not BC cops, unkat (comment #4)
This "Columbia" is in the US heartland where folks have seen for themselves who to believe in this Drugthug War. It's a university town of a hundred thousand people in the centre of Missouri. It's much harder for the propagandists to poison the debate with their everlasting inanities when they're dealing with mature students. But this creep, Sterling Infield, is giving it his best. The best he can do is to put worst lying spin on what sounds like a cannabiphile going ballistic after being harassed one time too many by secret narc slimeballs like Sterling.Right on global_warming and observer in your characterization of cops who befriend to betray. Undercover drugthugs belong under rocks.---------------------------------------------Some BC cops are learning. The other day one called at a house I was visiting. When the owner opened the front door, the cop sniffed and said, "You should be smoking that stuff outside, Fred*." Fred shot back, "Hey, what kinda example would that be for the kids walking by."Then they talked about the business that had brought him there.I hope it's a sign.----------------------------------* pseudonym to protect the innocent 
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Comment #10 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on February 27, 2005 at 17:20:27 PT
LEAP LTE in Chicago Tribune
James Gierach of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition got a large letter to the editor printed in today's Chicago Tribune. Take a look:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/chi-0502270435feb27,1,5472839.story?ctrack=2&cset=true
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on February 27, 2005 at 16:54:53 PT
lombar
I read that article earlier. I am conservative in most areas of my life but I am not into any political party. I voted for who I believed would be best for our country. Bush invaded a sovereign country. The way I was raised only evil countries did that to another country so I could never support Bush even if I was a Republican. It's the religious group of people who have brought down the problems on so many. They want us to repent or go to jail. I am a person who believes in spirtuality and try to be as good as I can be. I don't want to put people in jail that don't believe like me though. If the Republicans could get rid of the RR's influence then it might turn out to be a good party. This is just my opinion.
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Comment #8 posted by lombar on February 27, 2005 at 16:41:13 PT
OT: A Bush supporter who opposes the war on drugs!
I honestly believe that no 'true' conservative can support the war on drugs. It subsidizes organised crime (which seems to be a no-no for legit business) and is a make work project for law enforcement. Most importantly, it does not work and costs a fortune...Interesting article:http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/02/26/194524.php
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Comment #7 posted by global_warming on February 27, 2005 at 14:18:58 PT
Disgusting Article
"The men and women enforcing Columbia’s new marijuana ordinance would very much like to see it overturned, according to the Columbia Police Officers Association, or CPOA. But to do that, they’re asking city leaders for help...Before joining Columbia police, Infield was an undercover narcotics detective for Jefferson City police and the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group task force, or MUSTANG."This guy Infield, epitomizes what this war on drugs has spawned, a snitch, a sneaky human being, one that lies and covertly userps our freedoms in this blessed USA, he is not happy unless he can slither around in the shadows, ready to jump on some young person with a thimble full of marijuana.I suggest that this Infield is sent to Iraq, he will fit in there nicely, and he will really have to work for his paycheck, since he is so gung ho, let him loose in Afghanistan, there is so many poppy fields and drug lord farmers and land owners, this would be perfect symmetry, perfect justice for such a hideous creature.Hey folks, the people have spoken, in this USA, the prize is democracy, and the fruits may be pleasant for some and bitter to others, but, with our pledge of allegiance, we all agreed to play by the same rules, those rules of law.Smoking marijuana is by very much less harmful that smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol, it is time to accept those facts. Facts that are available to any one who can surf the internet.Free all those that have been wrongfully imprisoned for smoking marijuana, let this world become the place where freedom is the rule and not tyranny or suppression.Like the scarlet letter, if we cannot see our reflection, then the mirror lies, but the paradox is, the mirror never lies.gw-praying and hoping that the light of sanity will push the fog away and dry the tears of so many good people;http://www.equalrights4all.us/CMS/index.php
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on February 27, 2005 at 14:11:17 PT
Observer I Agree
You said: And don't forget that without pot prohibition, the rest of the drug war is peanuts. So, there would go your bloated local narcotic squads, task forces, etc: 90% of their time is devoted to cannabis prohibition.
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Comment #5 posted by observer on February 27, 2005 at 13:57:31 PT
''I don't make the laws, I just enforce them''
Hoo boy. How many times have you heard a whopper like that from a cop? Maybe Officer Friendly had his fingers crossed. Or forgot about his "group".http://www.google.com/search?q=%22I+don%27t+make+the+laws+I+just+enforce+them%22Kinda reminds me of the sick joke about Officers who don't testify in court, they are "testalying," (test a lie), instead.http://www.google.com/search?q=testalying+drugsIt's like Denis Peron said. These heros pull down the big bucks for doing what? Busting people for plants. Rooting up plants. Busting people for a bag of plant leaves. Busting peaceful people for doing nothing more than smoking leaves is a whole lot easier than going after real criminals: violent people, robbers, and nutcases who might carry guns and fight back. Peaceful adult pot smokers who are busted for nothing other than smoking pot, are, by definition, peaceful and easily led off to jail. Them's easy pickins. About 750,000 easy pickins in the U.S., alone, each year.And don't forget that without pot prohibition, the rest of the drug war is peanuts. So, there would go your bloated local narcotic squads, task forces, etc: 90% of their time is devoted to cannabis prohibition. (When they say "drugs," they really mean "pot".) ___Deliberation, n.: The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
 -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary" 
http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/propaganda
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Comment #4 posted by unkat27 on February 27, 2005 at 12:46:03 PT
B.C. Cops Need to Learn More
These cops don't get it. If cannabis was legalized it wouldn't be a gateway to harder drugs, because it wouldn't be in the hands of the illegal drug dealers. They need to read some of the articles at www.leap.cc and learn something from veterans drug warriors that learned from experience, the only way to stop the violence is to end the war, through legalization and regulation.
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on February 27, 2005 at 11:50:37 PT
Change 
It's hard for some cops to understand change. Maybe they should take up a new line of work?
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on February 27, 2005 at 10:02:48 PT
Leave Em' Alone!!!
City Prosecutor Rose Wibbenmeyer said, "marijuana cases have increased a lot from Columbia police versus this time last year." Through Friday, she said, there were 210 marijuana violation deferrals under the new ordinance.The cops are still not getting it. They have been directed by the folks that pay their salaries to fight real crime and leave harmless cannabis smokers alone. Sour grapes.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 27, 2005 at 09:41:16 PT
Sick People
Marijuana wasn't the cause of this shooting. Was the man drinking? Why do they blame Cannabis for everything?Even mentally ill people can use Cannabis. 
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