Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crystal Lake and marijuana law

This morning's Northwest Herald carries an article about a dangerous direction about to be embarked upon by the City of Crystal Lake. The top cop there, Chief David Linder, apparently is proposing that the City handle drug violations.

What does this mean?

It means all the fines stay in Crystal Lake, instead of going to the McHenry County Circuit Court. If a Crystal Lake case goes to Circuit Court, the City gets only a small piece of the action. Possession would become a City Ordinance violation, and the cops could charge a violator and summon him or her into Crystal Lake's own administrative adjudication court. In its own court, the City would keep 100% of the $500-1,000 fine.

And you can bet they will follow Woodstock and other communities and impound vehicles. Ka-ching, ka-ching. I believe Crystal Lake already has a vehicle impoundment law.

Will such a new law reduce marijuana use? Not likely. If a user thinks he could get away with a civil charge, not a criminal charge, might he take that chance? Laws ought to discourage violation; right?

And what about driving while under the influence of marijuana? If you can possess up to 30 grams and hope to escape with a civil violation (and administrative adjudication court), won't this lead to increased use by drivers? Yes, we can hope for sharp fines in Circuit Court for impaired driving or driving under the influence, but we already know how too often it's only a slap on the wrist and a waltz out of the courtroom and back to the car.

Of course, it's not just the fines, but also the carnage on the highways that must be considered - the injuries and fatalities and the property damage. Do you want more drivers who are stoned coming at you?

And don't forget the brains being fried by marijuana and whether it leads to use of harder drugs. There are some who think marijuana ought to be legalized. I'm not one of them.

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