“We are asking the Council to adopt a Lowest Law Enforcement Priority for cannabis possession in Jefferson County”
RE: LOUISVILLE METRO COUNCIL AND MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT.
3 hrs ·
We will be addressing Metro Council this evening at 6:00.
We are asking the Council to adopt a Lowest Law Enforcement Priority for cannabis possession in Jefferson County.
No more arrests Or citations for simple cannabis possession!
We have support in the council and we need the support of those who are skeptical….Please attend this meeting, and subsequent meetings, to show support for the Ordinance…Below is the written speech that I will use to plea for the ordinance…
Let’s Fill the room!
My name is Dan Seum, Jr.
I represent the majority of Kentucky and Jefferson County Citizens who believe cannabis should be legalized for medicinal and responsible adult use.
Polls throughout Kentucky have proven that the majority of our voting public support cannabis legalization. A most recent poll conducted by WHAS in Jefferson County reported over 85% approve of legalization to help with Kentucky’s pension crisis.
The enforcement of marijuana possession laws needlessly ensnares thousands of our otherwise law-abiding citizens into the criminal justice system and wastes millions of Kentucky taxpayers’ dollars that could be better invested in our communities. What’s more, it is carried out with staggering racial bias. Despite being a priority for police departments nationwide, the War on Marijuana has failed to reduce marijuana use and availability. In any given year Kentucky ranks #1,2, or 3 in marijuana production as well as exports.
All wars are expensive, and the War on Marijuana has been no different. Not only has our state and local governments blown millions that could have been otherwise invested, the personal cost to those arrested is often significant and can linger for years. When people are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, it can have dire collateral consequences that affect their eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, and child custody determinations.
According to the ACLU’s original analysis, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana. Most people arrested cannot afford a $500 bond levied upon them and are forced to remain in jail until a formal hearing, which is another tremendous cost to the taxpayer.
There were 678 marijuana arrests in Jefferson County in 2016. That’s more than cocaine, meth and heroin combined. That doesn’t seem like a lot for Jefferson County but it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Even if the police just issue you a citation you still have a record and that record may follow you around for a long time. Defendants are forced into drug classes, which can be costly. There is subsequent drug testing, which is amazingly counterproductive as it incentivizes people to use spice, or opiates that are not detected as long.
Frankfort has failed to advance cannabis legislation year after year. We are asking that Our Metro Council adopt an ordinance making cannabis possession the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of the Louisville Metro Police Department. We believe your unified voice of approval will send a message to our mayor and to Frankfort. Please lead us as we are determined to end the war on medical and responsible cannabis consumers.
LOWEST LAW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY ORDINANCE FOR CANNABIS POSSESSION
We the people of Louisville ordain that investigations, citations, arrests, property seizures, and prosecutions for cannabis possession, cultivation or use in the Louisville metro area are the lowest law enforcement priority of the Louisville Metro Police Department. The Louisville Metro Council shall transmit notification of the enactment of this initiative to the state and federal elected officials who represent the city of Louisville, the Governor of Kentucky, The President of the United States of America and The Secretary General of the United Nations.
(a) Current federal and state policies needlessly harm the citizens of Louisville. Numerous bills have been filed to remove criminal penalties for cannabis possession in the state legislature over the last five years and the Commonwealth has failed to act.
(b) The Institute of Medicine has found that cannabis has medicinal value and is not a gateway drug. Evidence shows cannabis is actually an exit drug from alcohol and opiate addiction.
(c) Cannabis is incorrectly scheduled and should be removed from federal scheduling.
(d) Louisville should determine its cannabis policies locally and Metro Council would prefer to move away from incarceration. We believe a regulated market that allows adult possession and medical use for minors under a doctor’s care should replace the current failed policies.
(e) Louisville Metro Council believes that current state laws punish medical patients unfairly and fail to reflect the reality of responsible adult use.
(f) Louisville Metro Council believes sufficient evidence exists to conclude cannabis prohibition, especially through drug testing, creates a bias toward alcohol and more dangerous drugs. This bias has exacerbated prescription drug abuse and is casual to the creation/use of synthetic marijuana.
(g) Law enforcement resources would be better spent fighting serious and violent crimes.
(h) Decades of arresting millions of cannabis users have failed to control cannabis use or reduce its availability. Metro Council believes that a regulated market would be more effective than the current black market at limiting youth access.
(i) Cannabis prohibition disproportionately affects low income and minority communities.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
a) “Adult” means an individual who is 18 years of age or older.
Louisville Metro law enforcement officer” means a member of the Louisville Metro Police Department or any other city agency or department that engages in law enforcement activity.
(c) “Lowest law enforcement priority” means a priority such that all law enforcement activities related to all offenses other than adult, personal-use cannabis offenses shall be a higher priority than all law enforcement activities related to cannabis offenses, where the cannabis was intended for adult personal use, other than the exceptions designated in this chapter.
(d) “Cannabis” means all parts of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or its resin.
(a) Louisville Metro law enforcement officers shall make law enforcement activity relating to cannabis offenses, where the cannabis was intended for adult personal use, their lowest law enforcement priority. Law enforcement activities relating to cannabis offenses include, but are not limited to, investigation, citation, arrest, seizure of property, or providing assistance to the prosecution of adult cannabis offenses.
(b) This lowest law enforcement priority policy shall not apply to use of cannabis on public property or driving under the influence.
(c) This lowest law enforcement priority policy shall apply to cooperating with state or federal agents to arrest, cite, investigate, prosecute, or seize property from adults for cannabis offenses included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy.
(d) Louisville Metro law enforcement officers shall not accept or renew formal deputation or commissioning by a federal law enforcement agency if such deputation or commissioning will include investigating, citing, arresting, or seizing property from adults for cannabis offenses included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy.
(e) Louisville shall not accept any federal funding that would be used to investigate, cite, arrest, prosecute, or seize property from adults for cannabis offenses included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy. This shall not prevent Louisville from receiving any federal funding not used for purposes contrary to this chapter.
(a) The Louisville Metro Council shall ensure the timely implementation of this chapter by:
(1) Designing, with consultation with the Louisville Metro Police Department, a supplemental report form for Louisville Metro law enforcement officers to use to report all adult cannabis arrests, citations, and property seizures and all instances of officers assisting in state or federal arrests, citations, and property seizures for any adult cannabis offenses. The supplemental report form shall be designed with the goal of allowing the Metro Council to ascertain whether the lowest law enforcement priority policy was followed;
(2) Receiving grievances from individuals who believe they were subjected to law enforcement activity contrary to the lowest law enforcement priority policy;
(3) Requesting additional information from any Louisville Metro law enforcement officer who engaged in law enforcement activity relating to one or more cannabis offenses under circumstances which appear to violate the lowest law enforcement priority policy. An officer’s decision not to provide additional information shall not be grounds for discipline; and
(4) Reporting semi-annually on the implementation of this chapter, with the first report being issued nine months after the enactment of this chapter. These reports shall include but not necessarily be limited to: the number of all arrests, citations, property seizures, and prosecutions for cannabis offenses in Louisville; the breakdown of all cannabis arrests and citations by race, age, specific charge, and classification as infraction, misdemeanor, or felony; any instances of law enforcement activity that the Metro Council believes violated the lowest law enforcement priority policy; and the estimated time and money spent by the city on law enforcement and punishment for adult cannabis offenses. These reports shall be made with the cooperation of the County District Attorney’s Office, the Louisville Metro Police Department, and any other Louisville law enforcement agencies in providing needed data.
(b) Louisville law enforcement officers shall submit to the Metro Council a supplemental report within seven calendar days after each adult cannabis arrest, citation, or property seizure or instance of assisting in a state or federal arrest, citation, or property seizure for any adult cannabis offense in Metro Louisville.
Beginning three months after the enactment of this chapter, the city clerk shall execute a mandatory and ministerial duty of sending letters on an annual basis to the Louisville’s U.S. Representative, both of Louisville’s U.S. Senators, Louisville’s Senators and Representative members in the Kentucky State Legislature, the Governor of Kentucky, the President of the United States and the UN Secretary-General. This letter shall state, “The citizens of Louisville, Kentucky have passed an initiative to de-prioritize adult cannabis offenses, where the cannabis is intended for personal adult use or medical use by minors under a doctor’s care, and we request that State, Federal and International governments take immediate steps to enact similar laws.” This duty shall be carried out until state, federal and international laws are changed accordingly.
All sections of this chapter are mandatory. A violation of this chapter is not a criminal offense.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
I applaud the the city for taking this step in diverting low-level drug offenses to treatment instead of jail. Our “no arrests for cannabis” ordinance we introduced fits perfectly with this harm reduction strategy. Louisville citizens who possess cannabis don’t need treatment unless other drugs are involved.
I’m feeling really good about getting our cannabis ordinance passed, so come and support us tomorrow night Thursday at 6 p.m. 601 West Jefferson at the Louisville Metro Council meeting. We have three great speakers:
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