Police Chiefs in Massachusetts Oppose Marijuana Legalization

Israel Pioneers Use Of Medical MarijuanaSANDWICH – The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association is strongly opposing the ballot question to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The association believes that legalization of marijuana would have a detrimental impact on the state and that increased access to the drug during a substance abuse epidemic would be a mistake.

“What has been learned is that the gateway drug which was introduced early on by these folks is marijuana,” said Peter Wack, the police chief in Sandwich. “By legalizing marijuana we are really taking a step backwards in this effort to save lives.”

The association believes the state would suffer impacts similar to those being reported in Colorado and Washington, states that have legalized the drug.

Studies in Colorado has shown an increase in drug use in adult and college age individuals, along with teenagers.

Wack is worried about increased drug use among teenagers in Massachusetts that have never used drugs before.

“If we make this more accessible in our state, these people may potentially become addicts as well and may potentially lose their lives.”

Data in Colorado also points to an increase in the number of deaths in marijuana-related motor vehicle accidents.

Wack said many departments don’t have the equipment to perform sobriety tests for many different drugs.

Below is the full text of the position paper issued by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association

Position on the Legalization of Marijuana

The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (MCOPA) strongly opposes the legalization of

marijuana in Massachusetts. As veteran police officers, we believe that allowing the delivery,

sales, transfer, growing, cultivating, processing and manufacturing of marijuana, and its

derivatives would have a detrimental impact upon the citizens of Massachusetts for a variety of

reasons.

Given that Massachusetts is mired in an addiction epidemic of historic proportions, now is not

the time to increase access to marijuana, marijuana by-products and the high-concentrate THC

products that would be permitted should the November ballot question pass. While many voters

may be under the impression that the ballot question would permit the sale of marijuana in plant

form, it would also allow for the commercial sale of potent extracts including hash oil, resins,

tinctures and various forms of concentrates that would include marijuana candy and beverages

containing high levels of THC.

Should the November ballot initiative pass, we believe that Massachusetts would quickly suffer

the same undesirable impacts taking place in Colorado and Washington state, where recently

enacted laws now allow commercial marijuana sales. Those states have already seen surges in

impaired driving, drugged-driving fatalities and diversion of bulk marijuana to other states, as

well as the phenomenon of people flocking to those states for the purpose of buying and using

drugs there. Most alarmingly, a study recently released in Colorado showed increasing use of

drugs by young people after marijuana was legalized there.

While traffic fatalities involving drivers under the influence of marijuana and THC have

increased in Colorado and Washington, there are no standardized field sobriety tests for driving

while high, nor is there a scientific standard of measurement for law enforcement to determine

impairment. There is no breathalyzer for weed.

The proponents of marijuana legalization would have voters believe that draconian drug laws

have resulted in the arrest of people for possessing pot, but that’s not true. First of all, since

1975 possession of marijuana offenses in Massachusetts were automatically dismissed and the

records were sealed. And since 2009, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has been

“decriminalized” and people caught with weed are issued a $100 citation. In fact, as a result of

decriminalization police officers have lost the authority to search vehicles for marijuana in all but

the most extraordinary cases.

The proponents would also have you believe that allowing marijuana sales would cut into the

profits of organized crime, but that’s not what has happened elsewhere. Our colleagues in

Colorado have seen drug dealers come from other states to take advantage of the fact that people

there can now buy pot legally. And given the choice between buying it in a store where it is

“regulated” and taxed, and getting it on the street where no tax is paid, customers are attracted to

the street. Colorado is not making the tax income voters had hoped.

We are encouraged by the recent outcome of a ballot initiative in Ohio where voters rejected

legalization in spite of a $25 million campaign by the pro pot movement. Massachusetts voters

should brace themselves for an onslaught of advertising financed by the Marijuana Policy Project

and other pro-marijuana groups over the summer and leading into the November election. We

hope and trust that voters will see through the rhetoric and falsehoods and realize that there is

simply no advantage to legalizing the commercial sale of marijuana, and that the detrimental

effects seen in Colorado and Washington would occur here if the ballot question were to pass.

We are proud to join the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts in working to defeat

this terrible idea. We are encouraged that Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, Mayor Walsh and

Attorney General Healey spoke out so soon about their opposition, as did the Construction

Industries of Massachusetts, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, the Retailers Association

of Massachusetts, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the Massachusetts Hospital

Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the

Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, all Massachusetts District Attorneys and

many others.

Legalizing drug sales at this time in our history is a terrible idea. There is no benefit and the

consequences would be dire. We hope voters will soundly reject the ballot question.

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