Mass. Cops Refuse to Ticket Pot Smokers

Police call new, softer marijuana law 'unenforceable'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2009 10:28 AM CST
Gerry Leone, Middlesex District Attorney, speaks at a news conference in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesafye)
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(Newser) – Now that marijuana is decriminalized in Massachusetts, many cops say they won’t even bother issuing tickets to pot smokers, the Boston Globe reports. “We’re just basically not enforcing it right now,” said the chief of police in one Central Massachusetts town. Officers “probably handled a lot of it informally before and probably more so now.” Under the new law, possession of an ounce or less is a civil offense, carrying a $100 fine.

One chief of police called that penalty “non-enforceable at best,” because police can no longer arrest marijuana users, and hence can’t force them to properly identify themselves. Bigger police departments like Boston’s are training officers to enforce the law, but openly call it “deficient.” Marijuana activists say the refuseniks are just trying to protest decriminalization. “There’s nothing new about having a civil violation process,” one argued.