Lawmakers say Douglas should rescind order on Windsor County marijuana cases

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(Host) A group of state legislators says the governor has overstepped his authority.

They say he should not have ordered state police to take significant marijuana cases in Windsor County to the attorney general for prosecution.

VPR’s Ross Sneyd has more:

(Sneyd) Thirteen lawmakers wrote to Governor Jim Douglas, criticizing him for stepping into a controversy involving Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand.

They want Douglas to rescind the order.

They also want Attorney General Bill Sorrell to refuse to take the cases.

(Sorrell) "No, I won’t do that. The reality is under the state statutes I’m the chief law enforcement officer in the state. And I’m supposed to counsel and assist the state’s attorneys in the performance of their duties.”

(Sneyd) The controversy developed out of a marijuana possession case against a lawyer from Windsor.

Martha Davis, who also occasionally presided in Family Court, was charged with possessing two-and-a-half pounds of marijuana and 32 plants.

Sand recommended the case be dealt with in court diversion, which will allow Davis to avoid a felony conviction.

The state legislators say they agree that people may disagree with how that case was handled. But they say Douglas is inappropriately bypassing an independently elected state’s attorney.

Douglas could not be reached.

But Sorrell says he’ll consider any cases that state police present to him, regardless of what he describes as political considerations.

(Sorrell) "I’ve been trying to avoid the politics of this whole thing. But I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got the authority to do it, and I take an oath of office to do my job. And that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

(Sneyd) There were four state representatives from Windsor County who did not sign the letter. They’re all Republicans. One Democratic senator from the county also did not sign.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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