Mass Police Chiefs oppose legalizing marijuana

Above: Southborough’s Police Chief is helping his state association promote their position against the legalization of marijuana

Southborough’s Chief of Police, Kenneth Paulhus, asked me to share a position paper opposing Ballot Question 4.

The paper was written by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and posted to the SPD’s Facebook page today.

[Editor’s Note: As is the case with letters to the editor, position papers don’t necessarily reflect my views. I’m just sharing the information.]

Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association
Position on the Legalization of Marijuana

The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (MCOPA) strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts. As veteran police officers, we believe that allowing the delivery, sales, transfer, growing, cultivating, processing and manufacturing of marijuana, and its derivatives would have a detrimental impact upon the citizens of Massachusetts for a variety of reasons.

Given that Massachusetts is mired in an addiction epidemic of historic proportions, now is not the time to increase access to marijuana, marijuana by-products and the high-concentrate THC products that would be permitted should the November ballot question pass. While many voters may be under the impression that the ballot question would permit the sale of marijuana in plant form, it would also allow for the commercial sale of potent extracts including hash oil, resins, tinctures and various forms of concentrates that would include marijuana candy and beverages containing high levels of THC.

Should the November ballot initiative pass, we believe that Massachusetts would quickly suffer the same undesirable impacts taking place in Colorado and Washington state, where recently enacted laws now allow commercial marijuana sales. Those states have already seen surges in impaired driving, drugged-driving fatalities and diversion of bulk marijuana to other states, as well as the phenomenon of people flocking to those states for the purpose of buying and using drugs there. Most alarmingly, a study recently released in Colorado showed increasing use of drugs by young people after marijuana was legalized there.

While traffic fatalities involving drivers under the influence of marijuana and THC have increased in Colorado and Washington, there are no standardized field sobriety tests for driving while high, nor is there a scientific standard of measurement for law enforcement to determine impairment. There is no breathalyzer for weed.

The proponents of marijuana legalization would have voters believe that draconian drug laws have resulted in the arrest of people for possessing pot, but that’s not true. First of all, since 1975 possession of marijuana offenses in Massachusetts were automatically dismissed and the records were sealed. And since 2009, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has been “decriminalized” and people caught with weed are issued a $100 citation. In fact, as a result of decriminalization police officers have lost the authority to search vehicles for marijuana in all but the most extraordinary cases.

The proponents would also have you believe that allowing marijuana sales would cut into the profits of organized crime, but that’s not what has happened elsewhere. Our colleagues in Colorado have seen drug dealers come from other states to take advantage of the fact that people there can now buy pot legally. And given the choice between buying it in a store where it is “regulated” and taxed, and getting it on the street where no tax is paid, customers are attracted to the street. Colorado is not making the tax income voters had hoped.

We are encouraged by the recent outcome of a ballot initiative in Ohio where voters rejected legalization in spite of a $25 million campaign by the pro pot movement. Massachusetts voters should brace themselves for an onslaught of advertising financed by the Marijuana Policy Project and other pro-marijuana groups over the summer and leading into the November election. We hope and trust that voters will see through the rhetoric and falsehoods and realize that there is simply no advantage to legalizing the commercial sale of marijuana, and that the detrimental effects seen in Colorado and Washington would occur here if the ballot question were to pass.

We are proud to join the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts in working to defeat this terrible idea. We are encouraged that Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, Mayor Walsh and Attorney General Healey spoke out so soon about their opposition, as did the Construction Industries of Massachusetts, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, all Massachusetts District Attorneys and many others.

Legalizing drug sales at this time in our history is a terrible idea. There is no benefit and the consequences would be dire. We hope voters will soundly reject the ballot question.

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louise barron
7 years ago

Legalizing pot in any capacity will have nothing but a tragic outcome. Accidents, deaths, a gateway to even more potent drugs, packed court rooms, and people with less functioning brain matter or none at all. God help our society. Smoke that.

D. McGee
7 years ago
Reply to  louise barron

So I assume that you also support banning alcohol for the very same reasons?

7 years ago
Reply to  louise barron

I’m optimistic that since there haven’t been any “tragic outcomes” in the other states that have legalized it, that we’ll also be in good shape. And no need for packed court rooms since we’ll be taking a lot of previously illegal activity and legalizing it, taking the burden off of the system. I think a lot of the panic and fear that people had has essentially been disproved already by states that have done the heavy lifting for us by testing this out for several years already.

“The consensus among several top state officials is that there have been no widely felt negative effects on the state since marijuana became legal”

““There are a certain number of folks, like myself, who were pretty reticent about it to begin with,” said House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Democrat. But “the sky didn’t fall. Everything seems to be working pretty well.”

“Legalization has ushered in thousands of new jobs in the burgeoning industry, brought $135 million into state coffers last year, and ended the prohibition of a widely used substance.”

Matthew Brownell
7 years ago
Reply to  southville

Southville, under what rock have you and pro-cannabis lapdogs been living?

Like, duuuudde . . .a very harsh toke from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

“Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.”

Truly sad (yet predictable) that our Massachusetts state legislators are like destitute junkies chasing any promise of tax ratables . . .

Carl Guyer
7 years ago

The sale and use of drugs is a complicated issue and it makes for some very strange and wondrous rationalizations.

Governor Baker supports bill to increase the number of liquor licenses for the economic development.

Source :

Our local State Senator agreed in 2012.

“I want to lift the cap and grant more cities and towns liquor licenses,” Eldridge said in an interview. “It’s a barrier to small business activity…and it’s a limit on positive economic development.”

Source :

Yikes….. We are only human after all, don’t expect too much.

7 years ago

Don’t worry, people (including kids) will still be able to obtain marijuana even if the question doesn’t pass. It just won’t be taxed or regulated.

louise barron
7 years ago

I don’t want to grant anything. If this country’s detox and rehab facilities are full, and if the word “OPIOID” has become part of our vocabulary, then why the devil promote pot, which will have lethal effects on our entire society. We’re not fowled up enough???????

louise barron
7 years ago

Who said Baker or Eldridge are prophets. For my money, you can keep them both

7 years ago

Kenneth Paulhus, why should we listen to you? You get paid to bust people for marijuana.

7 years ago

For what it is worth, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) advocates the legalization and regulation of all drugs. Not everyone who gets paid to fight the war on drugs supports the war on drugs.

Lean Hart
7 years ago

I would prefer not to concede anything. On the off chance that this present nation’s detox and recovery offices are full, and if “OPIOID” has gotten to be a piece of our vocabulary, then why the fallen angel advance pot, which will effectively affect our whole society. Are we not messed up enough?

7 years ago

Why is this still being debated? The voice of the voters of the state has spoken and the results were clear. People need to respect the process and accept the results – just as is being done with that other big vote – and its outcome.

Move on.

And puh-leez, let ‘s stop all the hype and dis and misinformation about marijuana . It’s far too easy for armchair quarterbacks to spew. Studies have repeatedly shown its use does not lead to an escalation to ‘harder’ substances. Some people will abuse any substance.

Let’s try to tone it down and resist the temptation to get our exercise jumping to conclusions!

Whatever happened to live & let live?

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