WASHINGTON — The Maryland legislature last week decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But don’t expect police officers to ignore it, says Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger.
Manger made his stance clear on citing marijuana possession after Maryland’s decriminalization law takes effect Oct. 1.
“They did not legalize marijuana. It is certainly not our intent to ignore an illegal substance as we do our job,” Manger says.
Questions surrounding how the new law will change officers’ jobs came up during discussions about the police department’s 2015 fiscal year budget Thursday.
The value of the legislation, Manger believes, is that people are not saddled with a criminal record for possession of less than 10 grams of pot. But he says, the law won’t free up any extra resources in his department.
“You’re still going to have people cited. Oftentimes, very often, when you have cases where someone is charged with possession, there are additional charges placed for other crimes,” he says.
When it comes to drug-related crimes, Montgomery County’s police department focuses its efforts on marijuana distribution and large scale possession, Manger says.