Pubdate: Sun, 09 Nov 2014
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2014 Lee Enterprises
Author: Jennifer Moody


Want to be a midnight toker? Better wait till next summer, because 
anyone caught with recreational marijuana before then can expect to 
get busted as usual.

That's the word from Oregon State Police, the Corvallis Police 
Department and the Linn County Sheriff's Office, all of which say 
they'll enforce existing marijuana laws until Oregon's new law 
allowing recreational marijuana use takes effect July 1, 2015.

"We understand the voters have passed this," Corvallis Chief John 
Sassaman said. "But currently, today, as it stands, marijuana is 
still illegal. We don't fudge the lines."

As Oregon law currently stands, a person without an Oregon Medical 
Marijuana card who is in possession of less than an ounce of 
marijuana can be charged with a violation, which is similar to a 
traffic ticket. Nobody is arrested or booked, simply cited.

Possession of larger amounts, or possession in connection with 
extenuating circumstances, such as manufacture or delivery, get into 
criminal charges.

None of that changes until the law itself changes, agreed Lt. Josh 
Brooks, public information officer for Oregon State Police. "We will 
continue to enforce the law as it stands to include issuing citations 
until July of 2015."

Law enforcement officers have plenty of questions when that law does 
change. Linn Sheriff Bruce Riley said his office is wondering how the 
state will determine when drivers under the influence cross the line 
into illegal intoxication, and how the testing for that level will occur.

"The medical or scientific community is going to have to come up with 
a more convenient or quicker test than what we have right now," he said.

Sassaman has the same questions and added a couple more: How much 
additional training will be needed to have enough officers with drug 
recognition skills working traffic detail? How will his department 
handle dispensaries that decide to go into the retail business? What 
will he do with a K9 unit currently trained to signal when marijuana 
is scented?

"Chances are, we're going to have to retire it," he said of the 
drug-sniffing dog. "Untraining a K9 to no longer alert to marijuana 
is a difficult process."

Riley reiterated that locally, nobody is making any changes until 
changes need to be made.

"The new law doesn't take effect until July of next year," he said. 
"Until the law changes, we're going to conduct business as usual and 
continue to enforce the law on the books."

"It's going to be interesting to see how it all works itself out."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom