Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
Clive McFarlane makes note in today’s T&G that William Breault has filed a petition with the city council that would ban smoking marijuana in public and increase the fine to $300, in addition to the state’s $100 civil ticket for possession of an ounce or less of the drug.
But from speaking with police officers, and according to reports from around the state, since the drug’s decriminalization in a 2008 referendum police departments hardly ever write the civil ticket.
One of the reasons is that there’s no law forcing people to give their real name to the officer writing the ticket — it doesn’t require proper ID or force them to pay the fines.
“They could say their name was Mickey Mouse, and we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it,” one officer said.
That means if a ticket does get written, there’s rarely any follow up.
If this new petition passes, then theoretically it would pile more fines onto an ordinance that’s already unworkable — unless the city’s law department, via a home rule petition, drafted an ordinance that both tightens up the enforcement of the state’s existing pot possession laws and adds Breault’s increases to it.
Or, with the city facing a $14 million budget deficit for next year (and the state’s between $1.8 and $2 billion), maybe it’s time for local politicians to encourage the passage of this and find some entrepreneurs to set up shop in Worcester.