HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Missoula County Approves Marijuana Initiative
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2006
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2006 Missoulian
Contact:  http://www.missoulian.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/720
Note: Only prints letters from within its print circulation area
Author: Tristan Scott, of the Missoulian
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Marijuana)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)

MISSOULA COUNTY APPROVES MARIJUANA INITIATIVE

A ballot measure recommending Missoula County law enforcement
officials make adult marijuana offenses their lowest priority passed
Tuesday night.

The measure, dubbed Initiative 2, won the support of 22,502 Missoula
voters, or 53 percent. Opponents of the initiative totaled 19,565, or
46 percent, and included some of Missoula County's top law enforcement
officials.

The initiative will make marijuana crimes the single lowest priority
for Missoula County authorities, but won't include marijuana sales or
drug use by minors as low-priority offenses.         In no way will
Tuesday's passage of Initiative 2 legalize the drug, according to
Angela Goodhope, a spokeswoman with Citizens for Responsible Crime
Policy, the group that proposed the measure and landed it on the ballot.

Proponents of the initiative, sponsored by Citizens for Responsible
Crime Policy, say Initiative 2 strives to place increased emphasis on
crimes that threaten people's lives and property and on other, more
pressing drug issues. The proposal calls for a Community Oversight
Committee that would consist of community members, criminal defense
attorneys and a drug rehabilitation counselor who would investigate
marijuana arrests and produce a report on the initiative's effects
seven months after its passage.

"We are very pleased that Missoula voters approved a clearer, safer
and smarter crime policy," Goodhope said.

Police Chief Rusty Wickman and Sheriff Mike McMeekin have publicly
voiced their concern about the initiative, saying they worry federal
dollars could be yanked from Missoula's drug enforcement programs in
retaliation to the measure.

Goodhope said all evidence suggested the contrary, pointing to
Seattle's passage of a similar measure several years ago as evidence.

In Missoula, like Seattle, the measure strives to place increased
emphasis on crimes that threaten people's lives and property and on
other, more pressing drug issues.

"None of the negative outcomes our opponents predicted will come
true," Goodhope said. "We know that for a fact." 
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