Santa Cruz Leaders Challenge New Marijuana Law

Santa Cruz Leaders Challenge New Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on February 15, 2007 at 09:56:38 PT
By Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff Writer 
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz --  A new voter-approved law that forces Santa Cruz police to essentially ignore marijuana crimes is being challenged by city officials, who say a portion of the ordinance violates the city constitution.The City Council this week directed City Attorney John Barisone to ask the court to strip some of the powers of a citizens oversight committee that would regulate how police implement the ordinance. City leaders say the powers of the committee conflict with powers guaranteed to police.
Law supporters called the city's legal action an attempt to subvert the will of Santa Cruz voters.An oversight committee is a requirement of Measure K, passed by Santa Cruz voters in November. The measure mandates police make marijuana crimes the department's lowest priority  except those that involve minors, driving under the influence or sales on public property. The committee, still being formed, will be a group of city residents appointed by the council to monitor marijuana-related arrests, citations and seizures."The committee would be giving direct orders to the Police Department," Barisone said. "Even council members can't call the police and say, 'Do this,' or, 'Do that.' That's what our charter says, and we want the court to confirm that for us"Telling officers how to do their job violates the 60-year-old charter, which includes a "no interference clause" It states that the police department is supervised by the city manager, Barisone said.Barisone said the committee would overstep the city charter.Measure K requires officers to fill out a supplemental report after each marijuana arrest. It also allows the committee to hear public grievances related to police conduct associated with marijuana offenses. The committee also could summon officers to justify their actions. Initiative organizers are upset with the city. Kate Horner, campaign coordinator of Measure K, said the oversight committee plays an important role in the law."It allows the city to see what changes Measure K has had on the community and the role of police," Horner said. "Without that, there's no way of knowing if anything has changed"Similar marijuana measures are on the books in Seattle, Oakland and Denver.City officials in Seattle, where an oversight committee has been in place since voters passed a low-priority marijuana measure in 2003, say the committee primarily analyzes police reports."Just counting and tracking the cases takes more energy than was being spent in the first place," said Bob Hood, chief of Seattle's public and community safety division.The committee telling police how to do their jobs "is an issue you always need to watch," Hood said.Barisone said he plans to file the lawsuit in Santa Cruz County Superior Court by the end of the week. The matter will be decided by a judge.Recruitment for the Santa Cruz oversight committee is under way, and members are expected to be chosen by mid-March.Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff Writer Published: February 15, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles: Measure K Doesn't Change Much in Santa Cruz We See It: Pot Capital? Should Focus on Other Things Besides Pot 
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Comment #5 posted by john wayne on February 15, 2007 at 16:00:24 PT
police powers trumpeted by hidebound SC newspaper
"powers guaranteed to the police". Think about how that sounds.  The writer takes for granted that "powers are granted to the police".Remedial US government classes for this newspaper writer.
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Comment #4 posted by whig on February 15, 2007 at 14:25:01 PT
Prickle-Prickle, Chaos 49, 3173 YOLDSanta Cruz
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on February 15, 2007 at 12:24:23 PT
vote 'em out
I wonder, is the next election for city council members 2008?Show them the door.
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Comment #2 posted by observer on February 15, 2007 at 11:03:37 PT
powers guaranteed to police
City leaders say the powers of the committee conflict with powers guaranteed to police.Yes, well, in a police state such concerns (the "powers guaranteed to police", reasons of "national security", making things convenient for the secret police, etc.) are paramount. Bill of Police State Rights.
I. Congress shall make no law which interferes with powers guaranteed to police.II. All powers shall be reserved for government and their police. 
Got it.
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Comment #1 posted by observer on February 15, 2007 at 10:43:22 PT
'Telling officers how to do their job' is SIN
Telling officers how to do their job violates the 60-year-old charterOnce a punishment that targets marijuana smokers is in place, only increasing the punishment shall be righteous. (Because this gives government more power.) Yea verily, the punishment for marijuana smokers shall never be lessened or repealed in any way, for the police and the government prosecutors, they shall rule and reign for ever and ever in truth and righteousness and omniscience: for they bear not the sword in vain. And the sword which thine police and prosecutor bear, they shall bear for ever and ever as the sun shineth in its strength. They bear the sword not for pension nor for profit or silver or gold, nay! Police and government prosecutor, soldiers are they, marching as to war! And war they must make, to purge and purify Our One Nation Under God from the sinner, the marijuana sinning polluter and defiler of man and child alike. And is it not for the child, the children, the kids, our tender young ones that this glorious and most noble battle is being fought against the marijuana drug abuser, the evil pharmakeia sorcerer witches that persist in their marijuana sin? Brethren, let us celebrate our noble law enforcement crusaders who daily combat the menace of marihuana, who daily save our children from cannabis-sin. Let us never question the dedication of our noble police and prosecutors nor their loyalty to the higher purposes of drug-free purity and happy sunshine puppies love kittens & children! I rest my case. 
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