Marijuana Plan Is Not Sensible

Talk about a misnomer: A campaign aimed at voters in Bellaire certainly qualifies. It is being conducted by a group calling itself “Sensible Bellaire.”

If successful, the group wants to “decriminalize” possession of marijuana in the village. Even given the fact such action would have virtually no practical effect, it would be about as far from sensible as anything Bellaire voters have been asked to consider.

It appears the group has collected enough petition signatures to get its initiative on the Nov. 8 election ballot. In the unlikely event voters approve the measure, it would reduce penalties for possession of marijuana — but only to the lowest level allowable under state law. No one in Bellaire, not voters or Village Council, can eliminate penalities prescribed by the state.

Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk does not support the initiative. He fears passage would encourage more people to drive while impaired by marijuana, with a resulting increase in accidents. He also worries the initiative could cause an increase in crime in general.

Proponents argue approval of the measure would help police. Instead of worrying about marijuana offenders, they could focus on other criminals, supporters say.

Nonsense. Village police would still be obligated to enforce state laws, including those on possession of marijuana.

What approval of the initiative would do is send a message that Bellaire voters have no reservations about the social and personal consequences of using marijuana. In that light, the truly sensible thing to do on Nov. 8 is to vote against the proposal.