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Police: Carry Cards At All Times

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Flagstaff Deputy Police Chief Kevin Treadway offered some free advice on Monday night to residents who will be able to legally possess and use medical marijuana under the new state law.

Carry the Arizona Department of Health Services-issued documentation on you at all times, but don't treat it as a get-out-of-jail-free card either, he said. The city will continue to enforce other state and federal laws that they are "duty-bound" to enforce.

The police department, says Treadway, is especially concerned about a possible increase in the number of drivers behind the wheel while high on medical pot.

Treadway told the 30-person audience Monday night that Flagstaff police officers are trained to keep an eye out for cues that someone might be too impaired to drive safely.

Officers can use probable cause to pull a driver over, Treadway said, and there are a number of techniques like the field sobriety test to gauge whether a driver's motor functions are impaired

Card-carrying patients who can legally consume marijuana won't be charged with driving under the influence. Instead, they can be charged under a separate, similar section of the state's DUI laws: driving while impaired.

Senior Assistant City Attorney Lisa Stankovich confirmed the two charges -- driving while under the influence and driving while impaired -- carry the same fines and possible sentences.

Caregivers and patients are being asked by the Flagstaff Police Department to keep their cards on them at all times to avoid being arrested if they are pulled over and are in possession of less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Anything more is a violation of even the medical marijuana law.

The Police Department is also concerned the paper cards, expected to be issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services during the first month, will be copied and forged by criminals.

"Everything is forged nowadays," he said. "Paper cards will eventually be replaced by plastic cards with holograms."

There will be zero tolerance, Treadway said, for anyone caught smoking marijuana in public, regardless if they a card-carrying patient.

Several locals were concerned about how the city would treat patients who were initially given a license to grow marijuana for personal use but then a dispensary opened nearby, making the license invalid.

Treadway didn't have a definitive answer but predicted the police would handle any complaints on a case-by-case basis and would not be going door-to-door to verify compliance after local dispensaries opened early next year.

The public discussion came days before the Arizona Department of Health Services began accepting applications for medical marijuana patient and caregiver cards.

ADHS starting accepting applications today for those two groups, although dispensaries have to wait until June 1 to submit paperwork to get a license to operate in one of the designated Arizona Community Health Analysis Areas.

Treadway will be recording a video on marijuana enforcement that will be posted on the city's web site at a later date.


NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Author:Home / News / Local / Crime And Courts
Police: JOE FERGUSON
Source: azdailysun.com
Copyright: 2011, azdailysun.com
Contact: Arizona Daily Sun Staff Directory - Contact page
Website: Police: Carry cards at all times
 
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