Measure making marijuana ‘lowest police priority’ advances

July 6th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Sensible Portland, the group behind a citizen-petition to make marijuana enforcement the lowest priority for city police, says it has gathered enough signatures to put the initiative on the November ballot.

In a Monument Square press conference yesterday, the group’s leadership said they are hoping the proposal will spur “an adult conversation” about marijuana policy that could spread well beyond city limits.

“To be clear, we hope that this measure is a step toward the eventual end of prohibition of marijuana in this country,” said John Eder, a spokesman for Sensible Portland and a former Green Party state representative. “This local ordinance isn’t a small thing.

“Most movements start locally, and this movement will have its effect on the state, … and it will have its effect nationally, as Maine joins the chorus of states and cities that are going on record saying they want to end the prohibition of marijuana for persons over the age of 21,” Eder continued.

Sensible Portland’s proposal would amend city statutes to codify that possession-level marijuana offenses, for non-violent adults who are 21 or older, would be the lowest enforcement priority for city police.

A summary of the ordinance provided yesterday by Sensible Portland said the ordinance aimed to prohibit police from arresting or fining non-violent adults 21 or older for possession-level offenses, or “ascertaining the possession” of marijuana or paraphernalia.

Exemptions to those provisions are built in to the ordinance for persons who are either committing a violent act, or have a previous conviction for a violent crime.

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