MONTE VISTA — Monte Vista Police Officers Joshua Hill and Heath Hart presented information on narcotic addiction at the last neighborhood watch meeting. The presentations open up good conversations and community members were able to ask many questions. One community member asked what the officers meant when they said we have, “Big drug issues in Monte Vista.”
The officers explained that Monte Vista is a problem area in Colorado due to drug addiction. The high rate of drug abuse in the area also contributes to other crimes such as shoplifting and burglaries. Due to Monte Vista small population the officers explained that the problem was even more noticeable than in larger cities. In larger cities they have the same problems but they don’t come in contact with it as often as in a small town.
They were asked if they were gaining on the issue. “I think we are. We’re hitting them where it hurts. We’re seizing their drugs. The Feds have come in and helped us out and they’ve made big seizures down here,” said Hart. Hart went on to give a powerpoint presentation covering information on drugs and seizures.
Hart told those gathered that searching a vehicle is one of the most dangerous things a police officer can do. “If they find out we have probable cause for searching that vehicle and that we’re suspicious that they’re transporting narcotics, they can turn on us. They may start a brawl with us and push us out into the street where cars are coming. Or they could have a weapon we don’t know about,” said Hart. For this reason, they always have at least a second officer to cover the officer searching the vehicle.
The officers attend hours of training and are always trying to stay a step ahead of the dealers. The canine unit is also a huge help to the officers in finding drugs. The dogs are well trained to be able to smell different narcotics and alert officers.
During the discussion, someone asked, “Where is the line with legalized drugs?” Officer Hill answered, “The line isn’t going away. It’s being moved. Everyone is concerned about giving an inch and losing a mile. But how many people are going through drug-related issues and saying we need to make what’s killing my little kid legal. Or an older parent still seeing their drug addicted thirty-year-old adult act like a child. I can tell you that’s something that’s never going to change. There’s always going to be that line where people are going to say no it is not OK to do that.”
Hill went on to give a presentation on marijuana and its regulations. “Drugs are definitely their own Pandora’s box. And there is always going to be changes in drug laws.
So, I’m going to talk about the Pandora’s box that came about with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado,” said Hill. In 1970 the federal government made the possession and usage of marijuana completely illegal with the Controlled Substance Act. In 2000 Colorado found that there were medicinal usages of marijuana. The state law was modified to make it permissible to use “medical marijuana” for medicinal reasons. In 2012 Colorado Amendment 64 legalized personal use and regulation of marijuana for adults 21 and over, as well as, commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale. Even though personal use of marijuana is now legal there are still many rules that marijuana users have to follow.
“You would think a constitutional document would have just a little blurb like: Marijuana is now legal. However, there is probably 23 pages of application of how marijuana is to be legalized in the state of Colorado, and the rules associated with it,” Hill stated.
The laws cover everything from how many plants you can grow, how old you can be, and a number of other rules. In Colorado you must be 21 years or older to purchase marijuana, and be able to prove your age with a state issued ID. It is also illegal to give someone marijuana for free.
There are also many rules when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana. It is illegal for someone to drive under the influence of marijuana. It is also illegal to have marijuana inside the vehicle where the driver or passengers can access it. It should be put in a vehicles trunk or somewhere without access while driving. It must also be in a sealed container with the seal unbroken.
Colorado citizens are only allowed to grow 12 plants per household. These plants cannot be openly visible and can’t be outside. If someone under 21 lives at the residence the plants must be kept somewhere where they cannot access them. These are only a few examples of the many laws found in the 23 pages of Colorado law concerning marijuana.
Those who came from the community thanked the officers for the informative discussion.