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Foxborough Police Chief Expects Medical Marijuana to ‘Escalate Criminal Activity and Dangerous Behavior’

Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary says despite the recent approval of medical marijuana in Massachusetts he will not be an advocate for a medical marijuana facility coming to Foxborough.

Prior to November’s election, Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary wrote a Letter to the Editor in the Foxboro Reporter as a citizen asking the town to join him in voting “No” on Question 3, which would "eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients.”

“In states that have allowed the creative fiction of ‘medical marijuana,’ there has been an increase of drug use by teenagers, and an escalation of violent crimes in neighborhoods with dispensing stations,” O’Leary wrote in his letter to the Reporter. … “People would be violating Federal Law, as marijuana is considered an illegal drug at that level. In states that have allowed the hoax, healthy individuals have been found with ‘marijuana cards,’ selling their ‘prescriptions’ on the street.”

O’Leary’s opinion proved to be the minority on Election Day as voters in the Commonwealth overwhelmingly approved Question 3.

Despite those results, O’Leary remains opposed to the concept of medical marijuana.

“I don’t believe medical marijuana is a panacea,” O’Leary said. “The decriminalization process that was brought about by the ballot initiative in 2009 has led to an increase in the number of teenagers in our community that are now using marijuana. I think it has led to a growth in the overall use of marijuana within the Commonwealth.”

And the passing of Question 3 in the Commonwealth will only continue that growth, according to O’Leary.

“I perceive - based on what I’ve learned about the California situation - that there will be an escalation in both criminal activity and dangerous behaviors caused by this but it’s the law,” O’Leary said.

While O’Leary respects the law, he expressed no interest in seeing a medical marijuana facility open in Foxborough.

“I certainly would not be an advocate of one of the 35 licensed premises in our community,” O’Leary said. “Again, based on what I learned from looking at the California situation … I think it is more appropriate in other areas than Foxborough.”

As for what the newly passed law means for the town and its law enforcement? O’Leary said that remains to be seen.

“Too early to say,” he said.

On Tuesday, Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen discussed a request from neighboring Walpole to send a letter to the town’s legislative delegation seeking support to pass legislation that would delay the effective date of medical marijuana.

“Basically what Walpole is saying from the letter is they do not have time to look at it from a perspective of addressing it for zoning if a [medical marijuana] store comes in,” said Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis. “Where is it going to be located? How is it going to be controlled? They are asking us to support their request and send a letter to the state.”

Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos respectfully disagreed with Walpole’s request.

“Not to be critical of anyone but I think there is some concern about control of marijuana use and who would be at these clinics,” Paicos said. “I’m not sure that’s really founded because the Department of Public Health is putting out some stringent regulations about this obviously. In other states where it is allowed it is very tightly controlled for obvious reasons.”

Paicos admitted he wasn’t sure what the “fear is” with medical marijuana.

“Unless somebody can articulate something specific I think sending a letter saying don’t implement [the medical marijuana law] against the overwhelming will of the voters is kind of throwing it in the face of the voters,” Paicos said.

After a six-minute discussion, Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen agreed to take no action on Walpole’s request and will not ask the town's representatives to delay the implementation of the medical marijuana law.

Gustavo Picciuto December 06, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I respect your opinion but police officers job is to enforce the law and protect and serve the community; not to legislate for or against any laws, I agree he shouldn't be silent but he shouldn't be biased either, he should be neutral and let our voice and our civil leaders decide the laws. That aside, I would respect his opinion if it was even well founded but it's not, his perspective on the issue shows his ignorance on the matter and takes away from his credibility as a person of the law. I would much rather have an informed Chief of Police that doesn't get himself too involved in legislating new laws than having someone like O'Leary sticking his neck out for something he has no idea what he's talking about and seeming ignorant and outdated while doing it. I rather raise my kids with the truth and science based logic than with hysteria and propaganda. Then you wonder why your kids lie to you and don't trust you when they get older.
itsallgoodjo December 06, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Colorado Law Enforcement claimed the same before the Dispensary model. It proved fasle. No increase in crime. Teenage use is down. Police are free to go after real criminals. State and local Municipalities are raking in the tax Rev. Colorado ranks #10 ecomomically in entire USA. Not bad for a small State!
Stephen December 07, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Gustavo. Do you live in this town?
Gustavo Picciuto December 07, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Does it matter where I live? If I didn't live in Foxborough I would still be entitled to my opinion regardless if it affects me directly or not, everyone is, it's up to you if you want to take into regard or not.
Bumbling B December 16, 2012 at 05:53 PM
This Chief is no chief. His cowboys run the show down there in Foxboro. He is a joke & should just retire time for some new blood in there. It should also be a hire from outside the current force. Thete is much corruption in the small town of Foxboro. Sad to see this town go down the drain.

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