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US: Hennepin County prosecutor won't bring charges for small amounts of marijuana - StarTribune.com

Found: Fri Mar 15 14:07:28 2019 PDT
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2019 Star Tribune
Contact: Opinion@startribune.com
Website: http://www.startribune.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/266
Webpage: http://www.startribune.com/hennepin-county... [translate]
Author: David Chanen Star Tribune, Legislature.dchanen@startribu
Newshawk: http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/


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prison was NOT mentioned
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West Metro 507174002

Hennepin County prosecutor won't charge people caught with small amounts of marijuana

Mike Freeman said he forged the new policy in response to a flaw in Minnesota's marijuana law.

By David Chanen Star Tribune

March 15, 2019 - 7:18am

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Someone caught with a small amount of marijuana in Hennepin County will no longer be prosecuted, County Attorney Mike Freeman said Thursday.

Freeman said he forged the new policy in response to a flaw in Minnesota's marijuana law. Currently, if a person possesses up to 42.5 grams - an amount about the size of a sandwich bag - the crime is punishable only by a fine of up to $300, a petty misdemeanor. But at 45 grams, a person can be charged with a felony.

Because he believes such a penalty is grossly inappropriate and produces racial disparities, Freeman said, his office won't charge anyone who possesses or sells under 100 grams of marijuana. Instead, the defendant will be considered for a diversion program, community service or a sentence that will be dismissed after certain conditions are met.

Hennepin now is the first county in Minnesota to have a low-level marijuana drug policy, which Freeman started to develop more than a year ago. Ramsey County recently implemented a no-charge policy that only deals with amounts under 42.5 grams.

Freeman issued the policy internally in August but has spent several months since revising it.

"I had to do something about it," he said. "My job is to determine if people are charged and how to spend my resources. Spending resources on these cases is just wrong."

Star Tribune file

Hennepin County's chief public defender Mary Moriarty.

Freeman's office didn't have information available about felony cases that were filed last year. But prosecuting low-level drug cases as felonies is costly for the county attorney's staff, the public defender's office and the courts, Freeman said.

Another key component of the policy is reducing racial disparities, especially among black men, he added.

The policy lists several exceptions in which prosecutors would charge low-level cases: If the person had a firearm, possessed a trace amount of another illegal substance (including THC oil and wax) or was in the presence of a child during a marijuana sale. Charges also can be filed because of aggravating factors defined by state law, such as a previous conviction or if the sale benefited a gang or involved a leader in a drug ring.

Chief Hennepin County Public Defender Mary Moriarty, pointing to the possible exceptions, said Freeman wasn't telling the truth when touting the new policy as being the end of low-level prosecutions. If he doesn't want to charge these cases, she asked, why would it matter that a person had a prior conviction?

"Mike has to be about transparency and the understanding of what the policy is," said Moriarty, who attended the hearing. "This is about fundamental fairness issues."

A new data dashboard

Freeman discussed the policy Thursday during a County Board hearing where he rolled out the county attorney office's new data dashboard. The data, which goes from 2014 to the present and will be updated daily, includes juvenile and adult caseload figures, race of defendants, offense breakdown and crime locations.

According to census numbers on the dashboard, Hennepin County's population is approximately 69 percent white, 13 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic/Latino, 7 percent Asian and 0.7 percent American Indian.

However, felony and gross misdemeanor cases on average are 54 percent black, 33 percent white, 5 percent American Indian and 2 percent Asian. Data on Hispanic/Latino people wasn't consistently available.

Moriarty said she applauded Freeman for catching up to the Minneapolis Police Department, which she said has had a data dashboard for a year.

"But his office has horrific racial disparity in charging cases," she said. "All I heard him do was blame others for this."

Freeman said the dashboard is the most revealing and comprehensive of any prosecutor's office in the United States. Along with his new marijuana policy, he said, he wants to use it to help reduce racial disparities.

Several Hennepin County commissioners questioned how that would happen.

"What work is there left to do?" asked Commissioner Angela Conley. "What are the national models? What are the best practices?"

Commissioner Jan Callison wanted to know how Freeman would measure his success in reducing disparities. When Freeman responded that "it was a hell of a question," Commissioner Mike Opat said sharply, "It is the question."

Commissioners had no public reaction or questions about the marijuana policy during Thursday's hearing.

Freeman's marijuana policy has the support of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, but he said he had received some pushback from law enforcement officials. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said the department will continue to work with the county attorney's office on cases that rise to the threshold of charging.

Freeman has led the charge at the Legislature with a bill to change the felony marijuana law to be more in line with county policy. He acknowledged that it could become moot if the drug is legalized in Minnesota.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi established his policy two weeks ago, but he said it's been in the works since last summer. That's when 46 black men were arrested by Minneapolis police in a sting and charged with felonies over very small amounts of marijuana. Freeman later dismissed all charges.

Although Ramsey County has very few low-level marijuana cases, Choi said having a policy was important for his staff and law enforcement. The policy doesn't prohibit charging low-level cases, but there would have to be a very compelling public safety reason to file charges.

"I believe Mike Freeman's logic used in his policy is very valid, and I agree we should be looking at ways of recalibrating our laws at the Legislature," he said.

David Chanen is a reporter covering Hennepin County government and Prince's estate dealings. He previously covered crime, courts and spent two sessions at the Legislature.dchanen@startribune.com 612-673-4465

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analysis of article text


prohibitionist hits:0 government drug warrior (prohibition_agency) hits:0 propaganda (drugwar_propaganda) hits:25 legalization hits:2 drug_reformer hits:0 reform_referenda hits:0 cannabis hits:20 stimulant hits:0 narcotic hits:0 hallucinogen hits:0
    prohibitionist     prohibition_agency     drugwar_propaganda     legalization     drug_reformer
    reform_referenda     cannabis     stimulant     narcotic     hallucinogen
                        
                        


incarceration/prison mentioned? NO - the issue of prison or incarceration was NOT mentioned in this article .

propaganda analysis


explicit prohibition propaganda (explicit_propaganda) hits:1 hated group (propaganda_theme1) hits:9 madness, violence, illness (propaganda_theme2) hits:6 survival of society (propaganda_theme3) hits:4 gateway, use is abuse (propaganda_theme4) hits:0 children (propaganda_theme5) hits:2 demonize, war, epidemic (propaganda_theme6) hits:0 total prohibition (propaganda_theme7) hits:3 dissent opposed (propaganda_theme8) hits:0
EXP - explicit prohibition propaganda (explicit_propaganda) GRP - hated group (propaganda_theme1) MAD - madness, violence, illness (propaganda_theme2)
SOC - survival of society (propaganda_theme3) USE - gateway, use is abuse (propaganda_theme4) KID - children (propaganda_theme5)
WAR - demonize, war, epidemic (propaganda_theme6) TOT - total prohibition (propaganda_theme7) DIS - dissent opposed (propaganda_theme8)



conceptevidencehitslinks
 drug of abuse implied / mentioned

drug related
[news] [concept]

legalization drug policy illegal drugs  
drugwar_propaganda : a drug war propaganda event, campaign release, slogan, or themepropaganda

drugwar propaganda 90%
[news] [concept]

explicit propaganda propaganda theme1 propaganda theme2 propaganda theme3 propaganda theme5 propaganda theme7 Why Are Americans So Easy to Manipulate? (Bruce E Levine, 2012)
Classic Modern Drug Propaganda
Themes in Chemical Prohibition
Drug War Propaganda (kindle edition)
explicit_propaganda : an explicit drug war propaganda event, campaign release, slogan, system, or programexplicit prohibition propaganda

explicit propaganda 70%
[news] [concept]

"spokesman"1SourceWatch: War on Drugs
dare.procon.org
Write What You're Told
Anti-Drug PSAs From the 80s and 90s
Lippmann, Walter; Public Opinion (1921)
Bernays, Edward; Propaganda (1928)
propaganda_theme1 : drug war propaganda theme: hated groupshated group

propaganda theme1 90%
[news] [concept]

"racial" "black men" "Latino" "gang"9Hated Groups (propaganda theme 1)
drugwarfacts.org/druguse.htm
drugwarfacts.org/racepris.htm
America's Racist Drug laws
narcoterror.org/
Labeling theory
Transfer (propaganda)
propaganda_theme2 : drug war propaganda theme: madness, violence, illness caused by drugsmadness, violence, illness

propaganda theme2 80%
[news] [concept]

"crime" "inappropriate" "breakdown" "deadly"6Madness Crime Violence Illness (propaganda theme 2)
drugwarfacts.org/crime.htm
drugwarfacts.org/causes.htm
Distortion 18: Cannabis and Mental Illness
No, marijuana use doesn't lower your IQ (10/2014)
propaganda_theme3 : drug war propaganda theme: survival of societysurvival of society

propaganda theme3 75%
[news] [concept]

"American" "community" "public safety"4Survival of Society (propaganda theme 3)
The "Nation" as a Device To Create a Psychological Crowd
propaganda_theme5 : drug war propaganda theme: children corrupted by drugschildren

propaganda theme5 70%
[news] [concept]

"child" "juvenile"2Children Corrupted (propaganda theme 5)
drugwarfacts.org/adolesce.htm
Think of the children
propaganda_theme7 : drug war propaganda theme: total prohibiton or accesstotal prohibition

propaganda theme7 80%
[news] [concept]

"legalized" legalization1Total Prohibition or Access (propaganda theme 7)
 drug of abuse

illegal drugs
[news] [concept]

cannabis various illegal drugs  
 drugs 90%
[news] [concept]
various drugs  
 drug law
[news] [concept]
"marijuana law"3History of United States drug pr...
 drug policy
[news] [concept]
"drug policy"1drugpolicy.org/
drugsense.org/
 legalization 80%
[news] [concept]
"drug is legalized" "legalized"2mapinc.org/decrim.htm
 psychoactive chemical

chemicals 50%
[news] [concept]

alcohol erowid.org/chemicals/chemicals.s...
 psychoactive plant

plants
[news] [concept]

cannabis erowid.org/plants/plants.shtml
 intoxicant
[news] [concept]
cannabis  
 depressant intoxicant 50%
[news] [concept]
alcohol  
 alcohol 50%
[news] [concept]
"Beer"2Stanton Peele Addiction Web Site
drugwarfacts.org/alcohol.htm
Pot Threatens Booze Profits
cannabis : cannabis (marijuana) product or usecannabis
[news] [concept]
"marijuana" "THC"20Cannabis: Religious and Spiritual Uses
Cannabis-Driving Studies
MAPInc.org Cannabis Link DB
medicalmarijuanaprocon.org
cannabisculture.com
Schaffer Library: Marijuana
drugwarfacts.org/marijuan.htm
mapinc.org/pot.htm
U.S. Prisons Thriving on Jim Crow Marijuana Arrests (2013)
 various drugs 90%
[news] [concept]
"drug"4 
 various illegal drugs
[news] [concept]
"drug ring"1mapinc.org
drugwarfacts.org
DEA's Drugs of Abuse booklet
drugwarfacts.org/drugtest.htm
 youth 70%
[news] [concept]
propaganda theme5 ssdp.org/
mapinc.org/youth.htm
 aggrandizing government

aggrandizement
[news] [concept]

"officials"1Statism: the Most Dangerous Religion (2014 video)
What is Statism?
Conservapedia: Statism
Wikipedia: Statolatry
lewrockwell.com/2014/07/thomas-d...
Bought Priesthood
Worship of the U. S. Government (2011)
Bureaucratic Thrust
Tyranny of Experts
The Threat of Authority (2012)
The Media As Enablers of Government Lies
The Statist Mindset (Jacob Hornberger, 2011)
Thinking Critically about Experts and Authority
'Scientific' evidence for FDA-approved drugs isn't so scientific, it turns out (2014)
The Intellectual Gravy Train (2015)

st:0.02 fo:0 s:0.01 d:0 c:0.04 db:0.136 a:0.55 m:0.23 t:1.27 (f)


text of article used for CRITICAL ANALYSIS, under FAIR USE provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107, et al.


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    article tags



     

    aggrandizement concept - terms of aggrandizement (of government)
    youth concept
    various_illegal_drugs concept - general terms for illegal drugs
    various_drugs concept - general terms for drugs
    cannabis concept - cannabis (marijuana) product or use
    cannabis
    alcohol concept - ethyl alcohol for intoxication
    depressant_intoxicant concept
    intoxicant concept
    plants concept - Plants listed in this section are those which have been used by humans for their mind- or emotion-altering properties.
    chemicals concept - Psychoactive Chemicals are chemicals which have mind- or emotion-altering properties.
    legalization concept - drug decrim. or legalisaton
    drug_policy concept - policy about how drugs and users be treated (esp. concerning government-initiated violence), in general
    drug_law concept
    drugs concept
    illegal_drugs concept - drugs of abuse, so-called
    propaganda_theme7 concept - drug war propaganda theme: total prohibiton or access
    propaganda_theme7
    propaganda_theme5 concept - drug war propaganda theme: children corrupted by drugs
    propaganda_theme5
    propaganda_theme3 concept - drug war propaganda theme: survival of society
    propaganda_theme3
    propaganda_theme2 concept - drug war propaganda theme: madness, violence, illness caused by drugs
    propaganda_theme2
    propaganda_theme1 concept - drug war propaganda theme: hated groups
    propaganda_theme1
    explicit_propaganda concept - an explicit drug war propaganda event, campaign release, slogan, system, or program
    explicit_propaganda
    drugwar_propaganda concept - a drug war propaganda event, campaign release, slogan, or theme
    drugwar_propaganda
    drug_related concept - related to illegal drugs and prohibition