Prosecutors and police officers have fundamental questions about how to enforce a Masschachusetts law that takes effect Jan. 2 decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, the Boston Globe reports. Many law enforcement officials strongly opposed the Nov. 4 state ballot question that will turn possession of an ounce or less of marijuana into an offense on par with a traffic violation.
A high-ranking state judge sought to clarify some matters in a memorandum issued this week. Police and prosecutors said questions still abound, including what they should do with people caught with several joints who refuse to identify themselves, who will develop and fund a drug-awareness program required for violators under 18, and whether state-run labs that test drugs in criminal cases will continue to do so for small quantities of marijuana. Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless, president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, said officials have yet to address questions like whether police chiefs can discipline officers who light up a joint after work. Thomas W. Nolan, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Boston University and a former Boston police lieutenant who was featured in a tv ad supporting Question 2, characterized the law enforcement complaints as inflexibility.