TAXPAYERS TO DECIDE WHETHER MARIJUANA SHOULD BE 'LOW PRIORITY'
The group Sensible Fayetteville has gathered enough signatures to put a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that will make a misdemeanor possession of marijuana the lowest priority for law enforcement.
Many have mixed feelings about the effect this ordinance could have on the city: Jacob Holloway, field organizer for Sensible Fayetteville, said an initiative like this sends "a message that we will no longer accept inaction," while City Attorney Kit Williams said the ordinance essentially would have "no effect" on Fayetteville residents.
What actually should bring the issue of decriminalizing marijuana to full focus, then, is the overcrowding of jails and the spending of taxpayers' money to house those charged with misdemeanors.
About 400 marijuana-related arrests were made in 2005 in Fayetteville, and the state of Arkansas spends about $30 million a year making arrests for marijuana use, said Ryan Denham, campaign director for Sensible Fayetteville.
"We have more serious fish to fry than going after someone with a small amount of marijuana," Mayor Dan Coody said.
We agree. But legalizing marijuana - or keeping it illegal - is not the issue.
The fact this measure simply is being placed on the November ballot is a significant step forward for all Fayetteville citizens. Who better to decide whether marijuana possession should be criminalized and how tax money should be spent than the Fayetteville taxpayers themselves?
Newshawk: Just Say Know: http://www.efsdp.org
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Sep 2008
Source: Arkansas Traveler, The (AR Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Arkansas Traveler
Cited: Sensible Fayetteville http://www.sensiblefayetteville.com
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Marijuana)