Tennessee AG Has Nashville and Memphis Decriminalization Ordinances in His Sights
Both Nashville and Memphis passed citywide ordinances earlier this year decriminalizing the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The goal of these measures is to prevent otherwise law-biding citizens from being entered into the criminal justice system simply for holding a little weed. In doing so, officials hoped that law enforcement will have more time to focus on more pressing issues, like rape, murder and all of the other monstrous indiscretions that typically frighten the majority of civil society.
However, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery claims the decriminalization ordinances are worthless in the eyes of the state. In a recent opinion, Slatery said the two cities could not give their respective police departments the freedom to issue small fines to those caught in possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana because that would go against the grain of state law.
California: Marijuana Cases Are Already Being Laughed Out of Court
Now that California has made marijuana fully legal, there are some reports starting to trickle down the press pipe that suggest pot-related offenses are already being essentially laughed out of court – even for those offenders who were quite obviously preparing to sling the herb on the black market.
On Tuesday, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC) published a conversation with a local attorney which suggested that with the passing of Proposition 64, an initiative that legalized the cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana, many courts have already begun to disregard the majority of pot-related cases. In fact, this appears to be the situation, even when the charges involve transgressions that were once considered a felonious offense.
Foes of Denver Marijuana Lounges Roll Out Opposition Strategy
No sooner had Denver become the first city in the country to allow adult-use marijuana consumption at bars, cafes and restaurants than foes began concocting ways to undermine it.
Fifty-four percent of Denver voters supported Initiative 300 on Election Day last week. Businesses can now pursue a special license to allow on-site cannabis consumption, subject to some strict rules as well as buy-in from the local merchants’ association.
Whichever business is the first to win a permit would become the first public place in America where cannabis use is strictly allowed that is not also a marijuana dispensary. Most legalization measures across the country include outright bans on public consumption, with violators subject to a fine. To date, the only dispensaries that have on-site consumption permits are in San Francisco.
Hardcore Cops Insist Legalization Means More Crime
Several marijuana-related crimes were struck from the books when California voters legalized the drug for adults 21 and over last week, and several others were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. Part of the allure for voters was that police—free from enforcing antiquated and ineffectual laws outlawing the nation’s favorite illicit substance—would then spend less time on marijuana and devote attention and energy to other, more serious crimes.
It’s only been a week, but this hasn’t been the experience of Parker Sever.
Sever is police chief of Hanford, California, a city of 53,000 in the southern Central Valley. Somehow, Prop. 64 has had the opposite effect for Sever—in fact, it’s created crime and more work for him and his officers. Well, probably, anyway.
The Empire State Frets Over Massachusetts Legalization
Now that Massachusetts has legalized marijuana, law enforcement agencies in neighboring New York are in a full throttle panic over how they will continue to protect the safety and well being of the citizens when more pot starts being smuggled into the state.
Reports indicate that police departments all over New York have been burning the midnight oil at the drawing board trying to devise a way to crack the skulls of marijuana offenders ever since voters in the Bay State approved an initiative calling for the demise of prohibition. It seem that cops there are concerned that thousands of New York residents are going to take day trips into Massachusetts and transport cannabis products into forbidden territory.
Texas Will Consider Decriminalization in 2017
Texas lawmakers will push to eliminate the criminal penalties associated with small time marijuana crimes in the 2017 legislative session.
According to a report from the Texas Tribune, legislative forces walked up to the steps of the State Capitol on Monday to submit a number of cannabis-related bills, one of which aims to decriminalize up to an ounce of marijuana all across the Lone Star state. The goal of the measure, according to Dem. State Rep. Joe Moody, the lawmaker responsible for drafting the bill, is to simply make this offense a civil infraction, punishable with a $250 fine—no jail time, no criminal record.
While not a perfect plan, the scope of House Bill 81 would be a relatively solid reform for Texas, especially considering the current charge for this offense is a criminal misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to a 180 days in the slammer and a $2000 fine.
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