cannabisnews.com: Police and DA's Not Sure How To Proceed





Police and DA's Not Sure How To Proceed
Posted by CN Staff on November 09, 2008 at 07:21:39 PT
By Lisa Przystup, Daily News Correspondent
Source: Milford Daily News
MA -- Massachusetts voters last week, including 65 percent of Milford voters and 66 percent of Framingham voters, approved Ballot Question 2 to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Now what?For area law enforcement officials, the answer prompts a long list of more questions. Among them:
Who is going to maintain the registry for the offense?How are the police going to be trained?What happens if someone doesn't pay the fine?"The only thing I can see clearly is that there is going to have to be a little more time to figure things out," said Norfolk District Attorney William Keating. "This was never thought through."And the clock is ticking. All these questions must be answered in the next 30 days, before the new law takes effect.Keating and other district attorneys met Friday, at the request of the state Office of Public Safety, to address implementation questions.But Keating said the informal meeting led to more questions than answers.According to Keating, municipal leaders are worried about being sued for unlawful arrests and police chiefs want to know what to do if someone without identification is stopped with a small amount of pot.Milford Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin said one of the biggest challenges he faces are legal guidelines that have yet to be clarified."If I pull over a car and find three people smoking a joint, is there a consensus that I still have a right to search?" he asked. O'Loughlin said it is now up to the Legislature to take a look at these grey areas and key questions.In addition to these concerns, there are simple technical details - such as getting the tickets printed - that must be dealt with.These logistical problems are a common concern among district attorneys and lawmakers. According to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, the amount of marijuana that constitutes a civil offense provides for anywhere from 30-60 joints.He wondered if someone has less than an ounce but it appears it is divided in such a way that indicates intent to distribute, can they be charged with a criminal as opposed to a civil offense?"That has really been the biggest roadblock," said Early.O'Loughlin and Keating also expressed concern about the equity of the new law."A kid standing with a can of beer that is worth a dollar faces greater penalties than a kid with an ounce of marijuana worth $600," said O'Loughlin. "We have to treat kids fairly."Keating said the severity of penalties for underage drinking as opposed to the new law are fueling uncertainty."The most difficult portion of this are those issues that surround people under 21 because we are left with such an uneven situation here," said Keating.Keating said the law creates a handful of unintended consequences, such as the effect it has on school policies regarding pot use and foster care screening of potential caregivers with pot records, which he says are "even more far reaching than just the basic law questions that are being asked."Corey Welford, a spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone, said until the new law is implemented the existing marijuana law will remain in effect."We want to send a clear message to our kids that marijuana is unhealthy, dangerous and illegal in Massachusetts," he said. "It doesn't change our resolve to prosecute drug traffickers."One district attorney is already operating as though the new law were in effect. Hamden District Attorney William Bennett said last week after the landslide vote he planned to drop all pending marijuana cases where the amount of pot in possession is less than one ounce. He plans on acting as though the law is in effect now to instead focus on prosecuting drug dealers.Under the new law, those caught with less than one ounce of marijuana face a $100 fine and must forfeit the drug. The current law stipulates that those caught with small amounts of marijuana face a $500 fine and up to six months on jail.One of the main arguments of Question 2 opponents was that decriminalization was tantamount to legalization.But state Rep. John Fernades, D-Milford, said all trafficking laws remain on the books."The possession of marijuana is now decriminalized, the acquisition of it is not," he said. "Distribution is still a criminal offense."Many proponents of Question 2 argued that the current law prevented students from obtaining scholarships and unfairly affected their admission to schools for a minor offense."From a personal point of view, I don't want to see somebody not get a scholarship or not get into a particular school because of a minor offense," said O'Loughlin.Fernandes said he spoke with many parents of young children who have been caught up in the court system because of marijuana convictions."You have to look at an election like this and see that the generations that were voting were more tolerant than previous generations have been," he said. "The people have spoken."Complete Title: Police and District Attorneys Not Sure How To Proceed with New Pot LawSource: Milford Daily News, The (MA)Author: Lisa Przystup, Daily News Correspondent Published: November 9, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Milford Daily NewsContact: milforddailynews cnc.comURL: http://drugsense.org/url/PJJkZsluWebsite: http://www.milforddailynews.comRelated Articles: Marijuana Law Advocates Seek Wider Changehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread24297.shtmlFrank Wants To Drop Federal Penalties for Pothttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23838.shtmlFrank Defends Proposal To Decriminalize Marijuanahttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23774.shtml 
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Comment #7 posted by museman on November 10, 2008 at 08:53:45 PT
charmedquark
Maybe you were being rhetorical, but to answer your question;There has never been a $600 ounce of marijuana in the entire history of prohibition.The figure is a traditional tactic of the WOD which is basicly to lie as much as possible about potency, weight, and 'street value.' The trick is in the determination of what that value is. For example, in the inner cities one could buy a joint for $5-$10. That joint would (a 'pinner' as they called them) would probably weigh less than half a gram. If one sold only joints   max $10 a joint = (about) #20 a gram with 27 grams in an ounce, That comes to a whopping $540 -close to the $600 figure- which in prohibition math is close enough. The description of joint selling is the only way marijuana gets into huge profits for the dealer- and it is a minority of the actual 'traffic' of the herb.They (the cops, and the DEA) like to do the same thing with the crops they bust; They will 'harvest' a crop with everything; root, stalk, leaves, and bud, weigh it wet, and then claim so many hundreds of thousands of dollars of 'street value' to make it look like its a 'menace.' And the 'water weight' of freshly harvested pot is about 90%, the weight of leaf and stem is about 65% so if a crop is 'valued' at say $20,000, its actual value after dried and trimmed is ($20,000)-($20,000 X .90)-(65%) = $8,300!And everyone who hears their BS claims believes that that those 4-5 pounds of pot are worth close to $5,000 -or that those 4-5 pounds were actually a lot more. This is the nature of the WOD; LIE, LIE, LIE.It came to me the other day; that "The nature of a thief is such that they would have to be a liar, it is only logical to assume that a liar is also a thief." Cops have proven it to me. They are the scum of the earth -with very few exceptions- and should be disarmed immediately!If we had an invasion from a foreign country, the quality of cop has degraded so far, they would be the first ones to run, or join the enemy, because almost all of their actions since the WOD has been the actions of cowards.*******You know, as a grower for many years (I grew for myself, not for profit) I know how much work goes into growing good herb from gestation to harvest. To grow pounds of herb -particularly under the conditions we have had to grow, it is not only a full time job, but you almost have to hire help if you have more than a few pounds. The idea that people who grow pot are 'lazy' 'trying to make money for nothing' is just ludicrous.If it were legal, there would be little for the black marketeers to profit from. Its not the most profitable trade as it is. Compared to the outrageous prices on 'legal drugs' pot is still one of the cheapest medicines available to man.These cops have got to be put in their place, and most of 'em belong in the prisons they put harmless people in along with the cops fellow criminals; the murderers, thieves, and rapists. They should not be allowed to speak for the people they are supposed to guard and protect, we didn't elect them, and surely never asked them for their brain-dead opinions. The past regime empowered them mightily with the WOD, the Patriot Act, etc., so maybe we'll get the chance to stop their ignorant interference in the peoples acts of governing themselves.If we act as a people to govern ourselves.LIBERATE CANNABIS FOR EVERYONE 
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Comment #6 posted by charmed quark on November 09, 2008 at 15:35:33 PT
$600/ounce, really?
I have no idea what street prices are these days - the last time I knew what it cost, it was $10-$15 for a "lid", not to date myself :-)I've seen prices in the MM shops that go up to about $10/gram for the best stuff. That's about $270/ounce. $600/ounce is $22/gram. Does it really cost that much?BTW - if they are really worried about how to do this, they can piggyback on the parking authority - they have a system for handling civil fines.
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Comment #5 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on November 09, 2008 at 14:33:02 PT
John Tyler
"A carton of cigarettes or 200 individual cigarettes. Itís all tobacco."And as far as I know, there is no upper limit on the number of tobacco cigarettes I can buy.I can buy thousands of cigarettes!But I'm not allowed to buy just one.I have to buy at least 20!Yet, despite the documented hard core addictive properties, the ability to cause deadly diseases, the great number of house fires caused, and the exposure of non-smokers even children to the deadly smoke, the cops don't seem bothered by tobacco sales at all.Not only can you sell tobacco within a few feet of a school, you can smoke a cigarette within inches of a young child!And the cops have no problem with that.
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Comment #4 posted by museman on November 09, 2008 at 09:59:05 PT
fair?
"A kid standing with a can of beer that is worth a dollar faces greater penalties than a kid with an ounce of marijuana worth $600," said O'Loughlin. "We have to treat kids fairly."Actually in terms of actual facts, alcohol is proven to be more damaging to the individual and certainly more damaging to people and property that might jump in their drunken path, so in that sense its only logical to make the 'sentence fit the crime.'However there is nothing about current practices in law enforcement that approaches 'fair' for anybody.The fact that the cop is revealing the true motivation behind most of their 'law' concerning what people do with their own bodies -which is revenue generation for their respective counties and the county projects (like new buildings, new digitally powered toilets, new computers, etc.) that fact is being glossed over.It hasn't been about 'justice' or 'fairness' or even 'social order' for a generation, if ever. I certainly haven't witnessed any in my lifetime.So treating the 'kids fairly' in the meaning of cop, is being able to rape their parents for all the dough they can get, while putting them (the kids) on their list for future police brutality and county/city profit.FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE (including kids)
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on November 09, 2008 at 09:10:02 PT
stop trying to make it hard
The DAís and the cops still donít get it. The whole point of this initiative was to get them to back off altogether, not to force them to think up new ways to harass cannabis users. An ounce is an ounce, in a baggie or rolled up. It doesnít matter. Stop creating problems where none exist. A keg of beer or a couple of 12 packs. Itís all beer. A carton of cigarettes or 200 individual cigarettes. Itís all tobacco. In addition there was nothing in the initiative about some registry (database) of people who have been issued a citation. Why is there talk of a record keeping system again? This is something the original initiative sought to end. There is no limit on how many citations one could receive. Hopefully people will be careful. What if people donít or canít pay the $100 fine (still not cheap)? That is not the DAís and the copsí problem and never has been. Collecting fines is up to the courts. They know how to deal with that. Lastly, 65% of the voters are saying this is not a crime anymore, it is a civil matter, subject to a citation. Treat it like other low level citations. If you canít figure it out maybe new DAís and or police chiefs can.   
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 09, 2008 at 08:40:21 PT
MA: Marijuana Question Raises Some
November 9, 2008http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/marijuana_question_raises_some.html
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on November 09, 2008 at 07:48:25 PT
Police and DA always act stupid when it suits them
Oh no, the voters have taken our easy money away, and now we do not know how to put one foot in front of another and walk, what do we do now?Please grow up and get a real job! If you cannot live off the misery of your fellow human being, you don't know what to do? And you are growing men sucking off the publics' taxpayers tit?
On a mission from God!
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