Police Adjust To Decriminalization of Marijuana

Police Adjust To Decriminalization of Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 26, 2009 at 05:20:03 PT
By John Fenuccio, Daily News Staff
Source: Metrowest Daily News 
Westborough, MA -- Even though the new law decriminalizing marijuana went into effect Jan. 2, local police have not issued citations to anyone caught with less than 1 ounce of marijuana. "I think we've had a couple times (where) we've taken marijuana away from people," Police Chief Alan Gordon said.In November, a statewide ballot question passed decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, making it a civil offense with a $100 fine for those caught with less than 1 ounce.
But Gordon said the new law has raised questions."As far as the mechanisms for us citing people, nothing was done prior to the implementation," he said. "So now it's like we're trying to run fast and catch up on everything."The Legislature didn't meet in a formal session after the election, Gordon said, and that made it difficult to delay the law's implementation. Law enforcement personnel, he said, hoped to delay implementation until March.Police chiefs whose towns use Westborough District Court met with two of the court's judges and the clerk magistrate to review the new marijuana procedures police were told to use as of Jan. 2."I have spoken with my town clerk's office so that they're aware of the procedure that is to be followed," Gordon said.Even before the new law was passed, Gordon said police have always used some measure of discretion in deciding how to handle an incident involving marijuana."Any time we catch somebody, we don't always charge people. It's left up to the discretion of the officer," Gordon said. "Many times if it's just like a joint or a small amount in a baggy and they've never been caught before, we've taken it away."Gordon said marijuana has always been an issue in Westborough and that police are aware people are using it."We're not naive enough to think that the kids aren't smoking marijuana, because we know they are," he said. "We continue our checks at the schools. We'll still be bringing the dogs in there."For the most part, police let school officials deal with students found in possession of marijuana on school grounds. Gordon said that system won't change.What will change is the legwork involved in identifying marijuana. In the past, police have sent any amount of confiscated marijuana to the State Crime Lab in order to determine the drug's authenticity. Now the lab will no longer run tests on amounts less than 1 ounce.Instead, police will test small amounts of confiscated drugs.Other cities and towns are pursuing other routes. Medway, for example, is considering placing an article on a special Town Meeting warrant to make smoking marijuana in public an arrestable offense. Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)Author:  John Fenuccio, Daily News StaffPublished: January 24, 2009Copyright: 2009 MetroWest Daily NewsContact: mdnletters cnc.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 27, 2009 at 11:11:56 PT
Those testing kits will show positive.
"Instead, police will test small amounts of confiscated drugs."Those kits that police carry with them always show anything positive for drugs or in this case, cannabis. No matter what it is it will test positive. Oregano or peppermint, if I remember correctly, will test positive for cannabis. We know that from articles about those portable kits in the past. They are extremely unreliable. Why do they keep wasting money on them? I guess they're just too handy to law enforcement, for many useful, "legal" purposes, to give up. 
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Comment #3 posted by ezrydn on January 27, 2009 at 05:16:05 PT:
The Title Got Me
You actually mean they're capable of "change?" After all that nail biting, hair pulling, dragging grandma into the streets to show the effects of a bad law, you mean to tell me that they're actually capable of "changing?" Will wonders never cease. Just a couple months ago, a majority of them were running, screaming in the streets, flailing their arms yelling "We don't know what to do now!"Yes, Mr/Ms LEO, Change, is, indeed, possible, but it starts with YOU!
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Comment #2 posted by observer on January 26, 2009 at 16:57:08 PT MJ Decrim Poll
Should lawmakers decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana? people have spoken. They don't want other adults jailed for smoking pot. If the said "lawmakers" are public servants, and not arrogant, despotic know-it-alls, they will do what the people want and pretend it is a representative democracy or a republic or at least pretend they care what the people want.)
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on January 26, 2009 at 06:45:01 PT
Coded lingo.
"Even before the new law was passed, Gordon said police have always used some measure of discretion in deciding how to handle an incident involving marijuana."He means the nice little middle class kids might get a break but the black kids always got slammed!Once you understand their use of the language you can understand what they are really saying!
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