420 Magazine Background

Marijuana Initiative 'Generally Ignored'


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
A voters' initiative to make marijuana crimes the single lowest priority for Missoula County authorities is "generally being ignored," according to findings by a committee assigned to monitor the initiative.

John Masterson, who chairs the citizen oversight committee, presented the second biannual report on the initiative's progress Wednesday during the weekly meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. The measure, dubbed Initiative 2, won the support of 53 percent of Missoula voters in November 2006.

Masterson pointed to a 27 percent increase in marijuana enforcement within Missoula County as evidence that the voter-approved initiative has gone unheeded.

"On average, someone gets busted every day, with the vast majority of these incidents involving young adults with small, personal amounts of marijuana," Masterson said.

Law enforcement officials have maintained that, in general, officers do not seek to make arrests or issue citations for personal marijuana use. Rather, police encounter the drug while investigating other offenses.

The report also shows that marijuana enforcement reported by the county sheriff's department has decreased by 13 percent in the measure's second year. The overall increase in marijuana enforcement, then, is due to "skyrocketing" arrests and citations by the Missoula Police Department, an entity not affected by the countywide measure.

While committee members acknowledge that city police are not required to make marijuana enforcement a lowest priority, the report calls the results "disappointing, particularly to city residents, where the initiative passed overwhelmingly in most precincts."

Marijuana incidents involving the Missoula Police Department have risen more than 60 percent in the last year, according to the report.

The report also commends efforts by Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who last year instructed prosecutors to charge misdemeanor marijuana cases on a lowest-priority basis, but only when marijuana is the sole offense.

Since June 2008, defendants in 16 cases have accepted deferred prosecution agreements, while no action was taken in 27 cases.

The nine-member oversight committee also found that the typical arrest in Missoula County for marijuana possession involves small, personal amounts - an average of 2 grams, which is lighter in weight than a single 10-cent coin, Masterson said.

In one instance reported in January, police seized less than 1 gram of marijuana residue from the console of a man's vehicle, retrieving the substance with a strip of white tape.

Eighty percent of individuals involved in marijuana incidents in the first half of 2008 were under the age of 30, the report concludes, while nearly half were between the ages of 18 and 22.

Meanwhile, nonwhites were roughly five times more likely than whites to be involved in a misdemeanor marijuana incident in Missoula County, with Native Americans involved in 13.4 percent of the incidents, while representing just 2.6 percent of Missoula County's population.

"When depicted as ratios of incidents per population, it becomes apparent that nonwhites are much more likely to be involved in an adult misdemeanor marijuana incident," the report concludes.

News Hawk- Ganjarden 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Missoulian.com
Contact: Missoulian.com
Copyright: 2008 Missoulian.com
Website: Marijuana Initiative 'Generally Ignored'


New Member
Who are you kidding? The initiative hasn't been ignored. The more they make MJ users criminals, the fewer can participate in voting for the legalization of it. This movement has likely frightened them, and they therefore need to work harder to stifle this culture.

Another thing, if they started killing pot smokers and dealers, assuredly it would work as well in America as it has in Indonesia. Of course, we can all thank Bill Clinton's influence for the death penalty here on weed. Before him, it was pretty much no hassle. The US uses its influence around the world against drugs. Hence, I refer to him as an emperor, since no one outside of the US voted for him, and why I refer to the US as the world's only super bully. What really ticks me off is how hard core they've gone after some of the other countries while having much more lax laws at home. It's disgusting.

Keith Lake

420 Emeritus
420 Staff
Step one = lowest priority initative
Step two = legislation to penalize the violation of step one

Seriously though, I agree with Wordsworm on this one. They are some combination of scared and/or angry.

A mechanism is needed to incentivize compliance
Top Bottom