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  1. #1
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    A voter-approved law reducing possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil offense threatens to unravel drug testing of police officers

    A voter-approved law reducing possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil offense threatens to unravel drug testing of police and other public employees, the Herald has learned.
    The law, which goes into effect Jan. 2, prohibits government agencies and authorities from enforcing any punishment for pot possession with a fine greater than $100, according to the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, and defines possession so broadly as to include traces of pot in blood to urine to hair and fingernails.
    “This very much threatens to undermine our ability to do the drug testing we do,” said Jack Collins, an attorney for the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association.
    Collins is calling for police departments to stop drug testing certain employees until the Legislature can explicitly allow public employees who fail drug tests to be punished. Without swift action, police departments and other agencies face lawsuits from unions protecting their members, Collins said.
    “At this point, it looks like a violation of their rights, and then there’d be a lawsuit and it would cost thousands of dollars,” he warned.
    Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless predicted the new law has far-reaching consequences for even school bus drivers and MBTA train operators, who could point to the law and say they can only be fined, not fired, for marijuana offenses.
    “People given the critical job of looking after children or the general public, there’s a greater risk now they could be high,” Capeless warned.
    Concerns about the viability of punishing people for flunking drug tests follow news reports of drug use by public workers. The Herald found that 77 MBTA employees have failed substance-abuse tests over the past three years.
    A task force set up by Public Safety Secretary Kevin Burke is examining the implications of the new law and how it will be enforced. Burke’s office is expected to provide answers to questions of drug testing by year’s end.
    Meanwhile, the Boston Police Department plans to continue drug testing regardless of any uncertainty, said Elaine Driscoll. “Enforcing our drug policies is non-negotiable,” Driscoll said.

  2. #2
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    So will they do away with gratuity punishments when the cops or firefighters get the munchies?
    'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
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  3. #3
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    So testing after vehicle accidents, shootings, and other admin requests would be out too? Hell why don't we just send the dopers to interdiction school next. Brilliant.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    So testing after vehicle accidents, shootings, and other admin requests would be out too? Hell why don't we just send the dopers to interdiction school next. Brilliant.
    They'd do really well in the class about what marijuana smells like!

  5. #5
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    Now that is just asinine - that's akin to letting people drive drunk because alcohol is legal.
    I'm your huckleberry...

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    Now that is just asinine - that's akin to letting people drive drunk because alcohol is legal.
    +1

    Alcohol is legal but you can't use it on duty (around here anyway) so whats the difference?
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  7. #7
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    Oregon has had that marijuana law for 25 years or more. It really doesn't matter that much. We don't call it a civil matter, but a "violation" with no jail and a max fine of a hundred bucks. Civilization hasn't crashed yet over it.
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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  8. #8
    MacLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    Oregon has had that marijuana law for 25 years or more. It really doesn't matter that much. We don't call it a civil matter, but a "violation" with no jail and a max fine of a hundred bucks. Civilization hasn't crashed yet over it.
    It isn't the law that worries me - it's that they think they can use it to stop drug testing cops.
    I'm your huckleberry...

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cidp24 View Post
    +1

    Alcohol is legal but you can't use it on duty (around here anyway) so whats the difference?
    I can't drink on duty???? Man, no wonder I didn't get that promotion.

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  10. #10
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    Good for BPD not being swayed by the hype over the law. I'm perplexed as to why the attorneys seem to think this will change hiring / discipline standards. California also made possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a mere infraction (non-arrestable offense) many, many years ago. The miscreant voters also voted for a much-abused "medicinal marijuana law" a few years back. Those changes in law have not at all changed agency hiring standards, nor should it.

    The public statements made by the Berkshire DA will actually have a more harmful effect than the change in law itself because now the courts risk being flooded with cases from those hopeful to escape accountability. The earlier reference to alcohol is the perfect analogy. While I am old enough to purchase and consume alcohol legally, to consume or be under the influence of said alcohol during the course of my duties would clearly be a violation of department standards and, in the use of my vehicle, a violation of state law. Employment is optional; I don't have to work for my employer if I don't like the rules. (Now that I think of it, employement really is optional... I could become an alcoholic and let the government support me... ah, but I digress.) While the n'er-do-wells who occasionally pose as school bus drivers or MTBA train operators may seem to think their drug use doesn't affect their ability to do the job, I'd like to believe that even our demoralized society doesn't want to see said employees smoking a joint before they come to work in the morning to transport human cargo.
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