Officials Look To Tougher Fines for Smoking Pot

Officials Look To Tougher Fines for Smoking Pot
Posted by CN Staff on January 09, 2009 at 12:57:23 PT
By Lane Lambert, GateHouse News Service
Source: Metrowest Daily News 
Massachusetts -- A week after the state’s new pot possession law went into effect, South Shore police have yet to report their first $100 civil citations. But the area’s largest communities are already moving to pass tougher penalties for public marijuana smoking.In Quincy, Councilor Kevin Coughlin is ready to introduce an ordinance setting a $300 fine for public smoking, while Mayor Thomas Koch is preparing a similar proposal.
In Plymouth, police Chief Michael Botieri says he’ll take a similar measure to town meeting in the coming months.“We’ve been talking about it since the law changed,” Botieri said of last November’s Question 2 ballot initiative.The Quincy and Plymouth proposals are among the first efforts in the state to toughen the penalties that were decriminalized when Question 2 passed.Instead of arresting anyone found with an ounce or less of marijuana, State and local police will write $100 tickets, using the same citation booklets they use for animal control violations and other civil infractions.Question 2 also gave towns and cities the option to make public use of pot a crime. The state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security is urging communities to do so, and Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has written a model ordinance they can use.Such penalties would treat public pot smoking the same way public drinking is handled.Coughlin, a longtime Cambridge probate and family court officer, has already sent his proposed ordinance to Quincy’s police chief, city solicitor and his fellow councilors. He plans to introduce it at the council’s Jan. 20 meeting, and it could be passed as soon as early February.His proposal would also include a $300 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia.“I hope we’re the first in the state to do this,” he said.Koch hasn’t seen Coughlin’s ordinance yet, but he said it sounds like something he could support.“We’re sending mixed signals to our young people,” Koch said of the new state law. “We have to address it.”In 2006 – the most recent year for which statistics are available – Massachusetts had 9,124 pot arrests. Of those, 7,857 were for possession and 1,267 for dealing.Plymouth police Chief Botieri said he doesn’t expect the law to significantly change the way his officers work.The aroma of burning pot will still be probable cause to check anyone, though police will now have to use portable scales to weigh any pot they find in a search, to determine whether the person gets an arrest or just a ticket.If they’re driving at the time, Botieri said they could get citations for both marijuana and traffic violations.“It’s a change,” Botieri said of the $100 citation. “It will be a challenge to make sure we get it right.”MARIJUANA ARRESTS: Details on the number of arrests in 2006 related to marijuana – including distribution and possession. Numbers are shown by state, county and a few select communities.Statewide:9,124 arrests 7,857 for possessionNorfolk County580 arrests 502 for possessionPlymouth County811 arrests 696 for possessionAbington82 arrests 76 for possessionQuincy70 arrests 49 for possessionWeymouth67 arrests 67 for possessionBraintree48 arrests 37 for possessionRandolph46 arrests 39 for possessionSource: “Marijuana Arrests In Massachusetts,” George Mason University, 2008Complete Title: Officials Look To Add Tougher Fines for Smoking Pot in Public Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)Author: Lane Lambert, GateHouse News ServicePublished: January 9, 2009Copyright: 2009 MetroWest Daily NewsContact: mdnletters cnc.comURL: Articles: More Marijuana Fines Possible Attempts To Strengthen Pot Penalties
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Comment #4 posted by GeoChemist on January 10, 2009 at 05:07:57 PT:
Mixed signals
to young people, i'll say.....a regulation system in place for the most deadly and addictive substance substance known to humankind......but stack on the fines for a relatively benign substance. Where do these morons come from?
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 09, 2009 at 14:10:42 PT
NM: Medical Cannabis Program Update
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 09, 2009 at 14:02:14 PT
Excerpt From New Mexico Business Weekly Article
Excerpt: The regulations provide for two kinds of licensed producers: a qualified patient who can produce up to 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings for personal use only and a nonprofit private entity that can produce a total of 95 mature plants and seedlings and an inventory of usable marijuana that reflects current patient needs at any time.State Finalizes Medical Marijuana Rules
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 09, 2009 at 13:59:07 PT
Health Department Finalizes Rules for MMJ
Health Department Finalizes Rules for Medical MarijuanaFriday, January 09, 2009Associated Press   SANTA FE — The state Department of Health is accepting applications from nonprofit businesses that want to produce and distribute medical marijuana to patients in New Mexico.  Qualified patients also can apply to produce medical marijuana for themselves.  The department announced today it has finalized its regulations for identification cards and for a production and distribution system.  Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil says patients now can get medical marijuana for chronic conditions in a way that's safe and legal under state law.  A 2007 law allows certified people to use marijuana for pain or other symptoms of debilitating illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries.
  Copyright: 2009 Associated Press Article:State Finalizes Medical Marijuana Rules
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