Local police departments: Even if legal, pot is still at the root of crimes
Possession of marijuana may no longer be a crime in Massachusetts, but local police are still dealing with pot-related crime.
Brian Fraga Herald News Staff Reporter @BfragaHN
FALL RIVER — Possession of marijuana may no longer be a crime in Massachusetts, but local police are still dealing with pot-related crime.
Some local police departments report seeing increases in break-ins and home invasions since December 2016, when Massachusetts residents could legally begin growing and possessing recreational marijuana in their homes.
Law enforcement officials in Southeastern Massachusetts say they are also concerned about the potential for robberies and other related crimes as marijuana legalization moves ahead, including the expected opening of “pot shops” and marijuana cafes on the near horizon.
“When people find out where it is, there is an incentive to get it. It’s more than $3,000 a pound. It’s too tempting,” said Westport Police Detective Jeff Majewski.
Majewski argued that marijuana legalization “has made things worse” in the community, and said the Westport Police Department has investigated more reports of related burglaries and robberies in residences. In one case, Majewski said two gang members from New Bedford targeted a Westport resident, entered his parent’s home, then robbed and pistol-whipped him before leaving the area.
“We never had home invasions that I can remember until marijuana started to become more mainstream,” Majewski said. “Even a few for us is more than what we’ve ever had before.”
Since Massachusetts residents voted for legalization in November 2016, Bay State residents have been able to legally keep 10 ounces of pot in a private residence. Individual residents can also grow up to six marijuana plants on their property, as long as it is out public view.
The illicit drug trade has long fueled most of the street-level crimes in Greater Fall River, such as convenience