Massachusetts Police Chiefs Strongly Oppose Question 3
Re: Citizen Petition- Medical Use of Marijuana
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association is strongly OPPOSED to the adoption of the ballot initiative in November 2012 relative to so-called “Medical Marijuana.” As the state’s leaders in the law enforcement community, we cannot sit idly by and watch the damage this proposal would have on our children and our communities.
We are not unsympathetic to the plight of certain individuals with legitimate medical conditions. The wording of the ballot question, however, allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for literally anyone, regardless of whether they actually suffer from a medical ailment. In the next few years, reportedly a prescription drug will become available that delivers the same “medicinal” effect. Let’s wait a short while. If this state adopts this ballot initiative in the mean time, the damage to our youth, our communities and our quality of life will be irreparable.
The experience of law enforcement professionals in other states where similar efforts have been tried has shown that the public safety problems created far outweigh any benefits to the very few individuals that potentially benefit from smoking marijuana. It sends the message that smoking marijuana is legal and healthy. Both are absolutely WRONG! Even if this ballot question were approved, it would still be a violation of federal law to possess or distribute marijuana through the “clinics” or other dispensing sites called for under the proposed law.
The ballot question speaks of so-called “medical marijuana treatment centers,” but experience shows these are often simply drug and paraphernalia storefronts. They are targets for burglaries, robberies and other crimes. What they do to a neighborhood is by no means consistent with where most citizens want to live or raise their children. Nearby homeowners and businesses will see a decline in their property values at a time when we are all still suffering from a depressed housing and retail market.
The police are already strapped and will find enforcement of many of the provisions of the new law very burdensome. For example, experience elsewhere tells us that abuse of “medical marijuana” cards will be rampant. Letting caregivers get a sixty-day supply of marijuana is an invitation for disaster and abuse. At a time when economic conditions dictate that we focus limited police resources on serious crime, this additional burden will detract from a police department’s other community policing and serious crime prevention, investigation and apprehension efforts.
Chief A. Wayne Sampson (Ret.)