WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — With medicinal marijuana soon to be legal in the commonwealth, Westborough police chief Alan Gordon expressed concern that costs of police enforcement will likely be increased.
He said he expects OUI cases and related accidents to increase, along with the addition of DRE officers (drug recognition experts) to be necessary.
"When they decriminalized marijuana, kids viewed it as legalizing marijuana, and the law does not have any teeth to it," Gordon said.
Town Planner Jim Robbins is in the process of drafting a bylaw to address dispensaries and home grows in town, but inspections, enforcement and added court time for cases will cost money. The law as written allows those who have been recommended the use of medicinal marijuana to grow and possess up to a 60-day supply if they are unable to access a "treatment center."
Police can issue a citation of $100 for illegal possession of under an ounce.
“It’s going to have a trickle-down effect, and it’s going to affect every one of our budgets," Gordon said.
Gordon said most departments have one DRE officer, but he said there will likely be a need for all officers to be certified. There is no mechanical test for someone operating under the influence of marijuana as there is for alcohol.
The law will go into effect Jan. 1, but an advertised bylaw hearing before that date will allow the town to hold off on the law until a town vote can be held at the March town meeting.