Douglas revokes order on marijuana cases

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he’s patched up his differences with the Windsor County prosecutor.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, that means that marijuana cases originating in Windsor County will now stay there.

(Sneyd) State’s Attorney Bobby Sand reached out to the governor’s office to end the escalating dispute with Douglas.

Sand told the governor’s staff that there had been what he called a misperception about how the prosecutor’s office handles marijuana possession cases.

(Sand) "I indicated to governor’s counsel in an email that we don’t have any type of blanket policy in Windsor County and we never had and we never will have with regard to marijuana cases. I indicated as well if I have said anything to anyone that created that impression that I was certainly sorry for that because that is no manner shape or form our policy.”

(Sneyd) Sand also suggested the governor "seize this opportunity to move forward.”

And that’s what Douglas did, although the governor didn’t back away from some of his rhetoric.

(Douglas) "The state’s attorney in Windsor County indicated that he has moved on from what appeared to be a blanket policy of deferring first-time marijuana cases, regardless of quantity. He has met with local law enforcement officers and indicated that henceforward he will talk with them about these cases before making a decision as to how to dispose of them. So I think it’s important now to move on and look toward the future.”

(Sneyd) Sand repeats that there never was any blanket order, but he says he may have contributed to confusion because he was busy preparing for a murder case.

That’s when news broke that a Windsor lawyer – who was also a part-time judge – had been charged with possessing two-and-a-half pounds of dried marijuana and 36 plants.

Sand recommended that she avoid a record by going through court diversion.

Douglas responded by ordering state police to bypass the Windsor County state’s attorney on future marijuana cases. They were told to take the cases to the attorney general or U-S attorney for prosecution. Douglas has now revoked that order.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.


AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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