The state's largest police organization today endorsed the marijuana
initiative.

The board of the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs, an umbrella group
that has 3,000 members and represents about 65 percent of the state's street
patrol officers, voted 9-0 to support the proposed constitutional change that
would decriminalize possession of up to three ounces of marijuana.

"I was a Metro Police officer for 28 years and I spent a lot of time booking
people on marijuana charges that never went to court," said NCOP President Andy
Anderson, former president of the Police Protective Association union.

"It would take anywhere from a couple of hours for a single arrest to about
half
my shift if there was a line at the booking window or multiple arrests -- time
that could have been better spent on the streets addressing violent crime."

Billy Rogers, spokesman for Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, which
supports Question 9, said this is the first police group to break ranks and
support the initiative.

"The perception in Nevada was that all law enforcement agencies would line up
against this measure, but this endorsement shows that we did listen to what
police wanted when this bill was drafted," Rogers aid.

Anderson said safeguards in the bill that include strict penalties for people
who smoke marijuana in public, sell pot to minors or drive under the influence
and kill people, played a big role in his group endorsing it.

"We do not support the smoking of marijuana," Anderson said. "But violent crime
is on the rise and terrorism remains a real threat. Our priorities in law
enforcement have changed and, with our limited resources, so should our laws."

Nevada changed its marijuana laws last year, making it a misdemeanor for
possession of less than one ounce instead of a felony.

Question 9, which was put on the ballot by the Marijuana Policy Project, would
have to pass in November and again in 2004 to become law.

Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have come out against the initiative
saying it would create more problems for police officers and prosecutors with
the potential for additional crime and driving the influence incidents, as well
as encourage use by minors.

Metro Police Detective David Kallas, executive director of the Las Vegas Police
Protective Association, had just returned from a trip out of town and didn't
know about the vote. He said he is against the initiative because it does not
address the "larger problem" problem of drug trafficking.

"Both personally and professionally, while you've eased the burden of the user,
you haven't assisted law enforcement with the overall problem of drug
trafficking," he said. "The people who purchase it still have to purchase it
somewhere."



Webpage:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/lv-gov/2002/aug/06/513814476.html
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Aug 2002
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Author: Ed Koch
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project (www.mpp.org)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?162 (Nevadans for Responsible Law
Enforcement)