Not Arresting Marijuana Users is Too Confusing For Police

Voters in Massachusetts have overwhelmingly voted to stop small-time marijuana arrests, but the law-enforcement community doesn’t understand what that means:

BOSTON - Amid confusion among police and prosecutors, a voter-approved law to decriminalize the possession of marijuana goes into effect on Jan. 2, according to a spokeswoman for the state attorney general.

Agawam Police Chief Robert D. Campbell said there is a tremendous amount of confusion about the law.

"Somebody has to come up with a mechanism," the chief said.

Geline W. Williams, executive director of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, said there are some "very, very significant" problems with putting the law into effect. [The Republican]

Fortunately, an apparent super-genius named Terence J. Franklin has come up with a theory:

Amherst Town Meeting member Terence J. Franklin, who supports Question 2, said the new law should be easy to put in place.

"Why not just leave people alone?" Franklin added. "What's the big deal? That will solve all the worries."

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Maybe we should let this guy write the ballot language from now on.

Seriously though, it’s understandable that police are entering into some new territory here. Still, there’s no question what the voters have in mind. Most people don’t think possessing marijuana should get you arrested and charged with a crime. There may be some details to iron out, but it’s really pretty silly to act like this is gonna turn the criminal justice system upside down. To even argue that is basically to admit that marijuana enforcement rules your world.

Opponents of Question 2 campaigned tirelessly to convince voters that marijuana enforcement was a low priority and that penalties were lenient. If there was even a shred of truth to any of that, then implementing decrim should be simple.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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party over

now the hangover begins for lawenforcement .these crimnals[police] have been robbing and killing people people for so long.they dont know how to stop regular every day people tell them to just get the fuck off my back .do what we hired you to do get to work looking for real crimnals or go back to your job at mcdonalds flipping burgers


Are you insane?

Do you want to piss people off?

I know. That's not the kind of rhetoric I should be using, but I say if a man can't the right idea, he needs to taught. You have the right ideal, you sir want to mean you have the foundations of a Liberatarian. Instead you sound like a the buddy of the elementary school bully who just punched someone in the nose. Yes we should be left alone, but name calling will only piss them off. You are not taking the right road to make your case. And in the end your ideas are ignored as banter from an ignorant child who needs a parent to tell/show them what to do. Is that what you want your dissenters to think of you as a child who needs a good role model? Or can you lead the change with the right thoughts and the right attitude. We are all a community. I am no cop, but I know they can wring in my ass for one thing or another if they're pissed off and I don't know my rights. Don't throw stones at the bees nest. Don't let them think of the people as children.

common sense drug laws

After reading this article and others like it, it seems obvious that the voting populace in Mass. is smart and their police officers and prosecutors are very dumb. Yes, if the police had any common sense at all they would simply go to work and concentrate on real criminals instead of their continued whining about "reefer madness" lies. Duh, just leave people alone unless they are creating some kind of problem. Why can't they understand that the possesion of cannabis is not a problem for anyone other than the people who want to control their neighbor's personal lives. Kind of like religious fanatics. They are here big-time. We might as well live in some Taliban controlled country.

drug laws

What? Common sense drug laws? Wow. What an idea.

Are the cops in Mass. retarded?

I have read multiple articles about how the cops in this state will have a hard time implementing this new voter approved decriminalization of marijuana.

"Training police, developing an education program for juveniles arrested for possession, issuing civil citations, and working with schools and colleges to align anti-pot rules have all proved problematic for Patrick administration officials as they hold meetings with officials from several administration agencies and law enforcement."

They have trouble training police? Whats confusing about any of this? Suddenly writing civil citations is confusing to cops? Don't they already write civil citations for other things?

They are playing dumb, and its getting really old. When did the cops stop working for us, and started working against us? Police do not make the laws they just enforce them. Ive heard police say this all the time, then how come its almost an impossibility to enforce this law?

Arresting people must be too much fun.

Vengeful cops

I have been following the local newspapers websites in Mass and one recurring comment from the cops who post is the wish for revenge on the citizens who ,in their opinion,were too stupid to determine their own laws.
The day after the election,the Boston Globe was deleting any comments in support of the win.Lots of comments from cops threatening to charge people with things they would normally let go and are claiming that the new law gives them authority to determine if a person is under the influence of marijuana and ticket them based on their professional opinion.

I think Mass should make things more clear for the passing a "lowest priority" measure.


A lot of good points here.

What ever happened to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
To The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

What do the cops represent afterall?


Maybe the worst form of a police state is represented by these bullies! The real question is; How and when did they become the final word? I hope the behavior finally exposes these legal hoods for the criminal behaviors they seem to want to follow and gets us back to some sanity!

it's that 100 IQ thing

If you score too high on an IQ test the cops just don't want you.They want blind obedience and good soldiers.Thinking gives them a headache.They should try medical marijuana.

All drug possesion should be Illigal

I think it is wrong to let small holdings of marihuana or hasjis be OK.

This is where the problem starts. The penalty does not have to be that large, but the busted user should at least be registered or fiend a small ticket.

I can understand how this can be confusig to the cops.



If you are representative of the intellectual level of those cops who are "having difficulty understanding" and implementing this law, it is indicative of why they are having such difficulty.

In plain words: Police should never surveil or "officially" approach any citizen unless that citizen is engaged in (or there is some evidence of) some wrongdoing which is negatively affecting another citizen's rights (such as one citizen just assaulted another, or stole something from another) or unless there has been a complaint filed by another citizen against the citizen in question.

Very simple instructions, which should be easily followed by even the most seriously intellectually challenged cop.

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

Agawam Police Chief Robert D. Campbell; Geline W. Williams, Executive Director of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association; and Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless, all seem to think cops are so incredibly dumb as to be totally incapable of taking on some simple verbal instructions and changes in paperwork.  Police officers should feel insulted when public officials speak this way because, in effect, cops as a whole are truly being insulted.

The identical lame excuse is used in the U.S. debate on legalizing commercial hemp production that would produce useful, domestic, THC-free fiber and hemp seed products.  According to the Feds in Washington, cops are plainly too stupid to distinguish hemp plants from marijuana—this despite the fact that police in Canada and everywhere else hemp is grown have no discernible problems regulating large scale hemp production while enforcing conventional marijuana prohibition.

It is not our job as drug law reformers to make the police look good.  Quite obviously, we don't.  Rather it’s the job of law enforcement personnel to take it upon themselves when they hear crap like this to let the guilty public officials know in no uncertain terms that they will not tolerate civil servants who use negative, prejudicial and destructive police stereotypes to justify utterly ridiculous drug laws.


we are all babbling idiots,

we are all babbling idiots, unable to make decisions for ourselves
we are children in the eyes of the law and congress

so please let the police & congress make all of our decisions
they know what is good for us

now go back to work and pay those taxes to keep all the prisons going, pay for the war and the failing of the financial institutions of this country

they have their priorities straight, we know nothing

no longer a patriot

the fact that namby-pamby,

the fact that namby-pamby, hand wringing time is spent on the subject of a weed is beyond ridiculous
we are killing the planet
we are killing each other
and we waste our time on arresting and jailing someone that smokes some natural vegetation

george washington

walk the freedom trail

Take a walk to the USS consititution. All that hemp rope and sails at the end may make you too light headed to walk up bunker hill. If it wasn't for hemp, our country would not be here. George Washington grew it for fuel, food and fiber (most likely for medicine as well). I I find it monumental that Mass is on front line once again. maybe this time, instead of tea it is hemp being smomked, down at the habor! Over Grow the Govt

Confusion about the law? You mean... refusal to enforce the law

I think what the Agawam Police Chief may have meant when he said there is "a tremendous amount of confusion about the law" is that there is "a tremendous amount of protesting coming from officers who still want to enforce the old law". Why would I think that? The week after proposition 2 passed in Massachusetts, Northeastern University (in Boston) held a 'mock-trial' for our school's criminal justice majors. In attendance was one of Northeastern's high-ranking police officers (and keep in mind our police are full-fledged Boston PD). What was his take on the passing of Proposition 2? "Now the police are just going to charge kids with intent to distribute instead of possession." NICE!
-Kevin Wadsworth
Northeastern University

police state

When the new Mass. decrim. law goes into effect, I hope the lawyers have a field day when they go into court to get the thugs (police who won't abide by the will of the people) off our backs. I have studied this cannabis prohibition for a long time and I have always said that whether you are a proponent of cannabis or not, seeing what is going on in our "war on drugs" is scary when you consider that other subjects (i.e. stem cell research) also have their "reefer madness" equivalents. What mankind really needs is genetic engineering. It will prove to be our only salvation. A belief in fairy tales will NOT save us from our own complete stupidity.

Legalize pot, get used to it, get over it, and move on to things much more important like maybe real crime, over-population, etc., etc.

A free-thinker

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