Top cop raises question about enforcement of legalized cannabis

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SAUGERTIES – The new state law that legalizes the possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use may provide penalties for persons under the age of 21 who possess the drug, but the president of the Police Chiefs Association of the mid-Hudson Valley is miffed as to how law enforcement is supposed to enforce that at the present time.

Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra said the law requires an office of cannabis management to impose and collect any fines. The issue is there is no such office established yet.

“We, as law enforcement officers, still have no mechanism in place where we can take the cannabis from someone less than 21, where we can charge the person under the criminal law if they are less than 21, or bring them before an office of cannabis management. We don’t have the paperwork to bring the person before that office, and secondly, that office currently does not exist,” he said.

Sinagra said that question needs to be addressed so law enforcement has clarity as to how to handle illegal possession.