Pubdate: Mon, 10 Oct 2016
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2016 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: Hillary Chabot
Page: 17


Granite State cops are bracing for a potential influx of doped-up
drivers and pot-smoking teens - even without a marijuana legalization
question on the New Hampshire ballot - as Massachusetts and Maine
voters could legalize the herb in November.

"You're going to have more instances of drugged driving, and it's
going to cost the state more money because of the increase in law
enforcement and prosecution," said Dalton, N.H., police Chief John
Tholl, who is also a state representative opposed to marijuana
legalization. "It's just going to be a burden on the legal system."

New Hampshire lawmakers attempted to decriminalize marijuana last
spring, but like several earlier attempts it was killed in the state
Senate. Despite growing support from legislators and even
gubernatorial candidates Republican Chris Sununu and Democrat Colin
Van Ostern, an increase in opioid overdose deaths has left the state
legislature reluctant to decriminalize.

Meanwhile, polls in both Maine and Massachusetts indicate that the
majority of voters back marijuana legalization. That could leave New
Hampshire law enforcement grappling with a surge of pot users coming
from the north and south.

Fifty-three percent of Bay State voters support legalization and 40
percent oppose, according to a UMass Amherst/WBZ poll released Sept.
29. Ballot question 4 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to
an ounce of cannabis, keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home, and
grow up to six plants.

Attorney General Maura Healey, who is against legalization, told
Herald Radio last week that law enforcement will most certainly be
dealing with an increase in drugged driving.

"I get really concerned about people driving under the influence and
what that means in terms of public safety on the roads," said Healey,
who noted that deaths as a result of drugged driving doubled last year
after Washington state legalized marijuana.

John Borghesani, the communications director for the Yes on 4
campaign, argued that the increase in tax collection from pot sales in
states like Colorado and Washington has covered any law enforcement

"We think there will be more than adequate revenue to fund the
administration of the initiative and have some left over to go to the
taxpayers," said Borghesani.

Maine's ballot question would allow people over 21 to have 2.5 ounces
of marijuana and they can grow up to six plants. A University of New
Hampshire Survey Center poll found that 53 percent of likely voters in
Maine support legalization and 38 percent oppose it.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt