cannabisnews.com: Marijuana Advocates Push Proposal To Ease Drug Law





Marijuana Advocates Push Proposal To Ease Drug Law
Posted by CN Staff on March 09, 2006 at 06:37:59 PT
By Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff Writer 
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- Marijuana proponents are pushing for a new city law that would essentially make recreational pot use legal on private property. A petition drive is under way by the advocacy group Santa Cruz Citizens for Sensible Marijuana Policy to get an initiative on the November ballot that would make marijuana offenses the lowest priority for police and cut off federal drug-enforcement resources to ensure this.
But the law enforcement community is questioning the legality of the initiative, as well as its common sense."By making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority on private property, essentially every house in Santa Cruz would be a safe house," City Attorney John Barisone said.The city attorney and police chief note such an initiative defies state law because marijuana is an illegal substance, and would pit authorities between conflicting directives  except in the case of medical use."I think it creates a lot of problems, and it's got some real legal problems," Barisone added.Supporters of the initiative, though, insist it's a "sensible policy" that would end wasting taxpayer money on policing to "criminalize cannabis consumers.""If police work is about making the public safer," said initiative author Theodora Kerry, "we really feel whether or not adults are using marijuana privately in their homes does not affect public safety." The proposed policy would also create a community oversight committee, which would include Santa Cruz residents and representatives from the Police Department and the county District Attorney's Office, to track marijuana arrests. The proposed ordinance also would not allow the city to accept federal funds for fighting marijuana use.A telephone poll conducted in October that questioned 400 registered voters in Santa Cruz showed 82 percent "agreed or somewhat agreed" that adults using marijuana should not be criminalized, said Andrea Tischler, owner of the Compassion Flower Inn, a bed and breakfast in Santa Cruz that allows medical marijuana use on site."We want the police to focus on violent acts," Tischler said. "Plus, it's far less harmful to use marijuana than alcohol, which is totally legal."Police Chief Howard Skerry said the department receives complaints about drug use in the community, and "marijuana is certainly part of that."As far as priority, Skerry said "in-progress calls" and "life safety" calls always take precedence.The proposal still allows for cracking down on marijuana use by minors and on public property.At least 10 percent of the city's 34,228 voters must sign the petition by April 20 to qualify the question for the November ballot. If 15 percent of registered voters sign it, the group could force the city to hold a special election, City Clerk Leslie Cook said.Complete Title: S.C. Marijuana Advocates Push Proposal To Ease City Drug LawSource: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff WriterPublished: March 9, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/Related Article & Web Site:Compassion Flower Innhttp://www.compassionflowerinn.com/Marijuana-rama http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread21552.shtmlCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 09, 2006 at 20:00:49 PT
Related Article from CBS News
Marijuana Advocates Push For Less Enforcement in Ballot Initiative***March 09, 2006SANTA CRUZ (BCN) -- Smoking a recreational joint at home should more or less be legal for adults in Santa Cruz, says a local marijuana advocacy group that's pushing for a new city ordinance that would make marijuana offenses the lowest enforcement priority for police. Santa Cruz Citizens for Sensible Marijuana Policy plans to kick off its campaign Saturday to gather at least 5,000 signatures for a petition that would also require the city to lobby for legalizing marijuana on state and federal levels. "There is great opposition to the drug war the way it is being done," campaign coordinator Andrea Tischler said today. "Many believe the drug war is a failure and those who use marijuana should not be criminalized." Instead, police resources should go toward fighting "more serious and violent crimes," Tischler said. "The money they spend investigating marijuana crimes is money misspent," she said. Last year, police made more than 100 marijuana-related arrests, Tischler said. Santa Cruz police did not return calls seeking comment today. A call to the Santa Cruz city attorney was not immediately returned. By adopting the city policy, which would also support a "tax and regulate" approach to marijuana use, advocates hope the grassroots effort will eventually balloon into a statewide initiative, making marijuana purchases as legal as buying alcohol or tobacco, Tischler said. The policy would also create a seven-member oversight committee, comprised of city council appointees, two Santa Cruz County District Attorney representatives and a policeman. The oversight committee would track marijuana arrests and address grievances brought to the committee by citizens. "The committee would ask police to provide information about the reason the police officer gave the citation and arrested the individual," Tischler said. She noted, however, that it'd be up to the city council to take action if the committee finds that the police department is not abiding by the policy. A telephone poll conducted last October that questioned 400 registered voters in Santa Cruz found that 82 percent "agreed or somewhat agreed" that using marijuana should not be a crime for adults, Tischler said. "That really encouraged us to (try to) put the initiative on the ballot," Tischler said. Oakland voters also inspired the initiative by overwhelmingly passing Measure Z in 2004. That measure made marijuana-related crimes a low priority for police, following concerns that police enforcement was taking away tax dollars from social programs. If placed on the ballot and passed by voters, the city ordinance would conflict with state law, which permits medical marijuana use only. Federal law still prohibits marijuana use for any purpose. The policy would not protect minors smoking marijuana, individuals selling marijuana to minors nor use in public places. So far, Tischler said more than 1,000 people have signed the petition. At least 10 percent (3,423) of the city's 34,228 voters must sign the petition before the April 20 deadline to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The campaign kick-off will be held in room 6 at the Louden Nelson Community Center, located at 301 Center St. in downtown Santa Cruz, starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.Copyright: MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. http://www2.cbs5.com/localwire/localfsnews/bcn/2006/03/09/n/HeadlineNews/POT-PETITION/resources_bcn_html
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on March 09, 2006 at 12:53:30 PT
by 4-20 
hey thats a good omen
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Comment #5 posted by JustGetnBy on March 09, 2006 at 12:48:31 PT
Perfectly Logical ????
  "As far as priority, Skerry said "in-progress calls" and "life safety" calls always take precedence."  That is a good sound bite Chief Skerry, but I would like you to explain to someone whos life is in danger that you have no policeman to send because they are busy booking a marijuana addict.  I'm sure the taxpayer, who is having violence done to them would understand your very clear logic.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 09, 2006 at 11:43:07 PT
Related Article from KSBWChannel.com
Marijuana Users Want Santa Cruz To Ease Laws
Group Circulating Petition March 9, 2006SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Marijuana users want the city to ease drug laws so recreational pot smoking will be legal on private property.The group Santa Cruz Citizens for Sensible Marijuana Policy is circulating a petition to get an initiative on the November ballot that would make marijuana offenses the lowest priority for police.Supporters of the initiative said it would end wasting taxpayer money on policing to "criminalize cannabis consumers."But officials question the legality of the initiative."By making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority on private property, essentially every house in Santa Cruz would be a safe house," City Attorney John Barisone said."I think it creates a lot of problems, and it's got some real legal problems," Barisone added.The proposal would create a community oversight committee, which would include residents as well as police and district attorney's office representatives, to track marijuana arrests. The proposed ordinance also would not allow the city to accept federal funds for fighting marijuana use."If police work is about making the public safer, we really feel whether or not adults are using marijuana privately in their homes does not affect public safety," initiative author Theodora Kerry said.Police Chief Howard Skerry said the department receives complaints about drug use in the community, and "marijuana is certainly part of that."At least 10 percent of the city's 34,228 registered voters must sign the petition by April 20 if the proposal is to qualify for the November ballot.Copyright 2006 by The Associated Presshttp://www.theksbwchannel.com/news/7852249/detail.html
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on March 09, 2006 at 08:34:10 PT
Kudos to Santa Cruz Once Again for Saying 'No'...
to Federal Overreaching."The proposed ordinance also would not allow the city to accept federal funds for fighting marijuana use."Leading the nation to humane laws.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on March 09, 2006 at 07:16:46 PT
Freedom houses, not safe houses!
"By making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority on private property, essentially every house in Santa Cruz would be a safe house," City Attorney John Barisone said.I say we call them "Freedom Houses".
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 09, 2006 at 07:13:03 PT
Off Topic: Ambien Crashes Onto Police Blotters
Prescription sleep pill is increasingly turning up as a factor in traffic arrests, officials claim.By Stephanie Saul, New York TimesThursday, March 09, 2006
 
With a tendency to stare zombie-like and run into stationary objects, a new species of impaired motorist is hitting the roads -- the Ambien driver.Ambien, the nation's best-selling prescription sleeping pill, is showing up with regularity as a factor in traffic arrests, sometimes involving drivers who later say they were sleep-driving and have no memory of taking the wheel after taking the drug.Ambien's competitors -- Lunesta by Sepracor and Sonata by King Pharmaceuticals -- are not as widely used in this country, and do not seem to be cropping up with any frequency on police blotters.Complete Article: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060309/LIFESTYLE03/603090326/1040
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